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KILGORE — Paris Junior College made eight 3-pointers and the Dragons gave head coach Chuck Taylor his 100th victory as a head coach Wednesday night with a 68-66 victory over nationally No. 2-ranked Kilgore.
“It’s extra special for me because not only was it my 100th win, but for it to come against the No. 2 team in the country, there’s nothing like it,” Taylor said. “Nothing like it. It doesn’t get any better than this. Anytime you can beat the No. 2 team in the country, that says a lot about your team, says a lot about your program, and says a lot about your school.”
The victory was the Dragons’ seventh straight and improved their record to 15-4 overall and 8-1 in Region XIV play, into a tie with No. 12 Trinity Valley (18-2, 8-1), which was idle Wednesday. Kilgore fell to 16-2 for the season and 7-2 in conference.
PJC broke away from a 15-15 tie midway through the first half and went ahead by double digits, leading 44-32 at the half on a 3-pointer by Trevon Seymore that just beat the buzzer.
The Dragons led 64-55 with 4:13 to play, but an incredible cold streak at the free throw line almost did them in.
Kilgore outscored Paris 11-4 the rest of the way, making 6-of-6 free throws while Paris was missing six straight. With 25.7 seconds to play, the last two of Kilgore’s free throws pulled the Rangers to within a point at 67-66.
Joe Haynes missed his first of two free throws with 22.9 seconds left, but made his second free throw, to give the Dragons a two-point lead at 68-66.
Kilgore brought the ball down court, needing a 2-pointer for a tie and a 3-pointer for a win. But the Dragons’ defense was at its best. With four seconds to play, the Rangers threw up a shot that missed, going out of bounds off Paris.
Kilgore guard Stefon Moody inbounded the ball with 0:02 on the clock, tossing it into the air in front of the rim in the hope of a teammate converting it into either a goal or a foul on Paris. But 6-9 Dragons center Ronnie White swatted the ball away and the buzzer sounded, triggering a Paris celebration.
Delvin Dickerson led PJC with 16 points. He made 6 of 10 field goals, including 4-of-6 three-pointers. Haynes came off the bench to score 13 points, and Seymore added 10 points.
Five Kilgore players scored in double figures, led by Moody with 15 points.
Thirty seconds into the game, Moody’s 3-pointer gave Kilgore a 3-0 lead. That was not only the Rangers’ only 3-pointer of the game, it was their biggest lead. Paris’ biggest lead was 55-42 with 14:44 to play.
The two teams traded baskets through the first nine minutes of the game before Paris went ahead to stay on Xavier Dupree’s goal for a 17-15 lead with 10:28 to play in the first half.
Dickerson hit three 3-pointers as the Dragons padded their lead to 29-21, and Haynes and Seymore added two more 3-pointers for the 12-point halftime lead.
Paris went 8-of-14 on its 3-point tries, which helped make up for making only 10-of-23 free throws (43.5 percent). Kilgore was 1-of-9 on 3-pointers, but 13-of-17 on free throws.
“We didn’t do a great job at the free throw line but, you know, that’s part of being on the road. That’s a part of this hostile environment we were in tonight. Kilgore had a great crowd,” Taylor said.
“I tell you what, Kilgore has a heck of a ball club, but we did a heck of a job tonight, ourselves. Delvin Dickerson, he’s our leader, and he set the pace for us tonight. Those 3-pointers made up for some missed free throws, no question about it,” he added.
“Seymore had another good night with 10 points, 6 assists, 2 steals. Nouhoum Bocoum had a big night, and Joe Haynes is making his way back.”
In a post-game radio interview, Kilgore coach Brian Hoberecht praised Paris for being more deliberate than other teams the Rangers have played this season. Most teams come down the court and fire away, he said, but not Paris.
Taylor’s record as a head coach is now 100-44, including 76-36 at Paris since taking over the team after classes had already started in the 2010-11 season. Taylor coached the Dragons to a 22-9 that first season, then followed with records of 24-7 in 2011-12, 15-16 in 2012-13, and 15-4 so far this year. He was the head coach at Richland College in 2005-06, going 24-8.
Taylor’s wish now is for the kind of crowd for PJC’s game in the Hunt Center against Tyler at 4 p.m. Saturday that Kilgore had for its game with Paris on Wednesday.
“You know, we’ve got something special on our campus. Our young men are doing a phenomenal job, and it would be great for the people of Paris to come out and cheer us on Saturday,” Taylor said.
In other Region XIV men’s games, it was:.
PARIS (15-4, 8-1) — Jovan Austin 1-4 0-0 1-5 3, Delvin Dickerson 6-10 4-6 0-0 16, Trevon Seymore 2-4 0-1 2-3 6, Brandon Scott 2-4 0-1 2-3 6, Keith Shivers 0-1 0-0 0-0 0, Joe Haynes 4-10 2-4 3-6 13, Nouhoum Bocoum 3-7 0-0 3-7 9, Ronnie White 3-4 0-0 0-0 6, Xavier Dupree 2-4 1-2 0-0 5, Qua Doster 0-0 0-0 0-0 0, Henoc Bienne 0-0 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-52 8-14 10-23 68.
KILGORE (16-2, 7-2) — Jamarcus Weatherspoon 5-7 0-0 1-2 11, Jonathan Milligan 5-11, 0-3, 0-0 10, Stefan Moody 4-9 1-3 6-7 15, Robert Joiner 1-1 0-0 2-2 4, Tom “Bush” Wamukota 4-6 0-0 2-2 10, Aaron Dailey 2-2 0-0 1-2 5, Kalif Wright 5-7 0-0 1-2 11, Chris Gracela 0-4 0-3 0-0 0, Michael Thomas 0-0 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 26-47 1-9 13-17 66.
Halftime: Paris 44, Kilgore 32. Rebounds: Paris 26, Kilgore 26. Assists: Paris 14 (Seymore 6); Kilgore 16 (Weatherspoon 4, Milligan 4, Moody 4). Blocks: Paris 2 (Bocoum 1, White 1); Kilgore: 7 (Weatherspoon 2, Wamukota 2). Steals: Paris 6 (Seymore 2, White 2); Kilgore 4 (Weatherspoon 1, Dailey 1, Gracela 1, Thomas 1). Turnovers: Paris 11 (Seymore 4); Kilgore: 14 (Moody 4). Fouls: Paris 18, Kilgore 21. Fouled Out: None.
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra