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KILGORE — Paris Junior College (14-4, 7-1) goes after its seventh straight victory Wednesday in what PJC Coach Chuck Taylor calls “our biggest game of the season to this point.”
The game is at 7:30 p.m. in Masters Gymnasium, home court of the No. 8-ranked Kilgore Rangers (16-1, 7-1), which defeated No. 11-ranked Trinity Valley (18-2, 8-1) last Wednesday, 74-70.
“This is a huge game for us. Actually, it’s a huge game for both teams,” Taylor said Tuesday night. “There will be a jam-packed crowd in Kilgore.”
The Dragons should have been at least 17-1 themselves, Taylor feels, but that’s water under the bridge.
All four losses came to ranked opponents, and the Dragons led going into the stretch of three of the losses — by double digits in two of them.
The fourth loss was by 79-75 to No. 2-ranked South Plains in the season opener, and that game was tied with under two minutes to play.
Taylor said he feels his team has learned how to hold onto a lead late in the game.
The Dragons are led by sophomore guards Trevon Seymore and Jovan Austin, who have started every game, along with freshman guard Keith Shivers, sophomore forward Delvin Dickerson and 6-9 sophomore centers Ronnie White and Nouhoum Bocoum.
White and Bocoum give Paris a legitimate shot-blocking threat plus strong inside play on both offense and defense — something the Dragons have lacked in past seasons. White was an early season starter before being sidelined for several weeks with an injured right knee.
Now, White says, “I’m back!”
Lately, a quartet of freshmen — 6-1 guard Qua Doster, 6-0 guard Brandon Scott, 6-1 guard Joe Haynes and 6-9 forward Xavier Dupree — have been adding an offensive 3-point threat, which has enabled Taylor to give more rest to the starting five.
PJC survived a big test on Saturday, knocking off always troublesome Navarro (now 13-7, 6-3) by 75-72 at the Hunt Center.
Kilgore, last season’s regular-season champion in Region XIV, won its first 13 games this season before dropping an 85-78 game to San Jacinto on the road.
The Rangers rebounded with an 85-79 victory over Lamar State-Port Arthur before returning to Kilgore to deal Trinity Valley its first conference loss.
Saturday, Kilgore opened the game against Panola on an 11-3 run and had a 12-0 run late in the first half, but had to withstand a massive three-point attack by the Ponies (10-10, 3-6) to pull off a 77-72 win in Carthage. Panola knocked down 11 three-pointers.
“We just made some crucial plays — just a few more than Panola, and we were able to get the win,” Kilgore Coach Brian Hoberecht said.
“Our last four games have been absolute wars in this league and we’re expecting that every night,” Hoberecht said.
Kilgore led Trinity Valley by 14 points before the Cardinals fought back to make a game of it.
To listen LIVE to the Paris-Kilgore game, click on this link:
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra