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If Monday night’s game between the North Lamar Pantherettes and the Paris Lady Cats wasn’t suspenseful enough, the boys decided to add to the suspense on Tuesday night.
Playing in front of a packed crowd at Panther gym, the North Lamar Panthers edged the Paris Wildcats 48-44 in their battle for sole possession of first place in District 13-3A. Both teams came into the contest with a 3-0 record in district play.
After playing to a 9-9 draw in the first quarter, the Panthers scored the first four points of the second quarter.
Then, with the score 15-12 in favor of the Panthers, Roy Jones from Paris was fouled on a made three-point basket by North Lamar’s Joe Logan. Logan, upset with himself, hit the floor near the players bench and was called for a technical foul.
Jones, missed the free-throw associated with the foul. However, Seljah Johnson made both technical foul shots and Paris took a 17-15 lead.
The two teams battled back and forth for the rest of the half with neither team leading by more than four points, and Paris led 26-24 at halftime.
The Panthers outscored Paris 13-5 in the third quarter, for a 37-31 lead going into the final quarter, and Paris coach Billy Steed bemoaned his team’s missed opportunities.
“You saw us miss about six lay-ups down there. You can’t miss lay-ups, and you can’t shoot 32 percent in a game like this,” he said.
Johnson scored all five of Paris’ points in the quarter. Nine of North Lamar’s points came at the hands of Hunter Sartor and Levi Porter, with Tyler Anthony scoring the other four.
Paris, with four quick points, started pressuring the ball more to narrow North Lamar’s lead to 40-37, and then Jones hit a 3-pointer to tie the game.
Porter, though, answered with a 3-pointer of his own from the corner. That 3-pointer along with four foul shots by Levi sealed the win for North Lamar. Porter scored all 12 of his points in the second half — 7 in the fourth quarter.
“These kids are resilient. The same thing happened against LE (Liberty-Eylau),” Panther Coach Homer Garner said of Paris’ fourth-quarter run. “LE goes on a 14-2 run or something like that to cut it down to three. I like the way our kids held poise down the stretch. I’m proud of them.”
Porter led North Lamar with 12 points. Anthony and Sartor each had 11 points. Versache Buchanan and Devin McDonald finished with 5, while Samaki Walker and Kyle Dunmon had 2 each. Sartor also had 16 rebounds for the Panthers.
Johnson led all scorers with 16 points. Jones had 13 points. Jordan Embry and Jalen Wallace each had 4 points for Paris. Adrian Beamon finished with 3 points, while Marc Bawcum and Jared Embry had 2 points apiece.
With the win, North Lamar moves to 4-0 in district, all alone at the top. The Panthers will play at Pleasant Grove on Friday.
Paris falls to 3-1 in District and will try to bounce back on Friday against Liberty-Eylau.
By: Greg Higgins, eParisExtra