- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
By CHARLES RICHARDS
TYLER – The Lady Dragons of Paris Junior College kept the lead for most of the first half against the nation’s eighth-ranked team Wednesday night at the Region XIV basketball tournament.
But then, dang it, there was a second half to play, and Blinn College improved to 29-2 for the season with a 69-55 victory at Herrington Patriots Center at UT-Tyler.
The Lady Dragons, the tournament’s No. 7 seed, ended its season at 11-18. Blinn, the No. 2 seed, will play in Friday’s semifinals against No. 3 seed Jacksonville, which beat No. 6 seed Jacksonville 57-42. In the other semifinal, No. 1 seed Trinity Valley, which beat No. 8 seed Tyler 87-47, will play No. 4 seed Angelina, a 68-64 winner over No. 5 seed Panola.
Blinn’s only two losses this season have come to Trinity Valley, the nation’s No. 1-ranked women’s team in junior college ranks.
The Buccaneers’ two posts led the way. Audrisa Harrison had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Fatima Adams had 15 points and 8 rebounds. Moe Bedford added 14 points.
Voche’ Martin and Kelsei Ewings led Paris with 11 and 10 points respectively.
In the first half, there were two ties and the lead changed hands seven times.
Shanice Vaughan gave Paris the lead with a jump shot 32 seconds into the game, and Blinn’s first lead didn’t come until 8-7 with 16:15 remaining in the half.
Paris regained the lead on Adriene Small’s lay-up at 14:03 for an 11-10 lead, and the lead went back and forth until Blinn went ahead to stay at 24:23 with 6:19 left in the first half on Bedford’s lay-up.
“We played great for the first 12 minutes probably,” Paris coach Sean LeBeauf said. “The rest of the way, they were the better team, they were tougher. We started giving them second-chance baskets.”
“We kept control most of the first half, and then we turned it over in some crucial situations and allowed some offensive rebounds that enabled them to get comfortable at the end of the first half,” he said.
Brea Castro-Gambrell scored on a layup with 2:14 left in the half to bring Paris to within 33-31, but Harrison immediately answered with a 3-pointer, followed by a lay-up to for a seven-point lead at 38-31.
Ashley Johnson’s jumper left Paris down by 38-33 at the half.
The first 15 seconds of the second half were telling, LeBeauf said.
Blinn’s Adams missed a jump shot, Harrison rebounded and missed a lay-up, but then Jones rebounded and was fouled while trying to score.
“That was a key possession for them at the start of the second half. They got three shots on that one possession because we couldn’t rebound the ball,” LeBeauf said.
Jones made both her free throws to start the Buccaneers on a 17-4 run that put the Lady Dragons in a 55-37 hole after the first six minutes of the second half.
“We guarded them well in the second half. They didn’t make a 3-pointer, and attempted only one. We ran them off the 3-point line. But their posts started asserting themselves and basically made their own luck, driving the ball. Our players weren’t able to guard, and we had lapses on defense.”
Of the Lady Dragons’ three meetings this season with Blinn, this was their best showing. Blinn won 77-52 on Dec. 8 and 71-48 on Feb. 9.