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Anthony Adams (10) works the ball against Lamar State early in the second half of Tuesday’s Region XIV men’s game at the conference tournament in Tyler. Other Paris players are Eddie Leal (23), Morris Mitchell (32), Mike Harmon (5) and Delvin Dickerson (21). (eParisExtra.com photo by Charles Richards)
By CHARLES RICHARDS
TYLER, Texas — Six and a half minutes into the second half, there was no indication that this game between Lamar State-Port Arthur and Paris Junior College was going to be a 90-68 blowout.
Paris’ Dragons had outscored Seahawks 17-11 in the second half, taking them from a 35-34 halftime deficit into a 51-46 lead. In the first half, there were 12 ties and the lead had changed 10 times. After halftime, Paris moved back in front.
And then, with 13:25 to play in the game, the bottom fell out.
The Seahawks scored five straight points to tie the game 61-61. Then they scored again. And again. And again. And again. Lamar State scored 18 straight points for a 64-51 lead before Paris made 1-of-2 free throws to make it 64-52.
That didn’t stop the bleeding. Lamar State scored nine more straight points, and it was official — the rout was on.
From the point that the Seahawks began their rally from five points down, they finished on a 44-17 run to chalk up a 90-68 victory — the only lopsided game of the four opening day games.
“We went ice cold, and then they stopped guarding. It‘s been that type of year,” Paris coach Chuck Taylor said.
Five Lamar State players finished in double figures. Ty Allen scored 23 points, Jamal Shabazz 15 points, Kieran Woods and Tre Bennett 14 points each, and Anthony Allen 10 points.
Delvin Dickerson was the only Paris player in double figures. He scored 10 points.
“It looks real nice when we hit 10, 11, 13 three-pointers. But when you go 5-of-18, like we did tonight, it’s a whole different deal. When you miss 11 free throws, when you stop guarding. But unfortunately, that’s been our year,” the Paris coach said.
The loss closed out a season in which the Dragons won 15 games and lost 16. A year after the Dragons were the conference’s No. 1 seed, Paris was the No. 10 seed and finished with a 15-16 record.
“This is a result-oriented business, and unfortunately, we didn’t get the outcome that we’re used to in Paris,” Taylor said.
“People say you can’t be good every year, and I don’t believe that. We owe it to the Paris community to put a good product on the floor, and we weren’t able to put a complete game together,” Taylor said.
“I apologize to the community. I owe them better. They expect better. It all starts with me. A 15-16 record is not what we anticipated. We owe you better.”
Lamar State avenged a 76-67 loss to the Dragons back on Dec. 5 in Paris at a time when the Seahawks were 9-0 nationally ranked.
“I don’t think people realize what a good team we beat back in December, and they (Lamar State) had to come out and prove that that was a fluke,” Taylor said.
“We’ve got a lot of young talent, and obviously those guys will grow. Now, we’ve got to get out on the recruiting trail. We’ve got to replace some very good players.”