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Nouhoum Bocoum scored 14 points to lead five players in double figures on Saturday as Paris Junior College — rebounding from a loss to Trinity Valley on Wednesday — defeated Panola College 71-47.
The victory was the ninth in 10 games for the Dragons, who improved to 10-2 in the North Zone of Region 14 and 17-5 on the season. That puts them one game behind league-leading Trinity Valley (11-1, 21-2) and one-half game ahead of Kilgore (9-2, 18-2), who did not play on Saturday.
Scoring 10 points each for PJC were Delvin Dickerson, Joe Haynes and Brandon Scott.
Malik Fields scored 12 points to lead Panola (4-8, 11-12). Brandon Herman and Geru Mabrey added 11 points apiece.
Bocoum scored three times inside and added a free throw for seven quick points as Paris opened the game with an 11-0 lead. Almost six minutes went by before Panola scored its first basket.
Panola had only three 3-pointers in the contest, but Herman and Stefan Bangelay knocked down two almost back to back as the visitors closed the margin to 18-10 about eight and a half minutes into the game.
But the Dragons answered with a 17-7 run — starting with Haynes’ 3-pointer and ending with Keith Shivers’ slam dunk — for a 35-17 lead, and Paris led 39-21 at the half.
“We did a good job from the first half to the second half. I told the guys we did a good job holding them to 21 points the first half, but we can’t give up 50 points in the second half. We can’t do that,” Paris Coach Chuck Taylor said after the game.
His players apparently were listening. They scored 11 of the first 15 points of the second half to open up their largest lead of the game at 50-25.
That’s when PJC should have become more deliberate on offense and worked the clock while looking for easy buckets, Taylor felt.
Instead, they let Panola get back in the game by shooting early in the 35-second clock when they should have worked the 35-second shot clock, he felt.
“I’m not saying stall, but I’m saying they need to understand the discipline it takes to win at a high level,” he said.
“They have to understand that instead of taking a 3-pointer with 25 seconds on the clock, they can get that same shot with 5 seconds left on the clock. They need to keep working and working and see if we can get an easy lay-up.”
They also got greedy. Three times, instead of scoring easy lay-ups on fast breaks, they went for the slam dunk, missing each time as the ball caromed loudly off the rim.
Panola went on a 17-4 run behind two baskets each by Mabrey and Brendt Pickens to narrow the Dragons’ lead to 54-42 with 7:46 to play.
Taylor called time out and told his players, “Guys, we’re winning! We’re winning!”
They already knew that, but Taylor was making the point that when you’ve got a big lead toward the end of the game, the clock is your friend and you should be in no hurry to shoot.
The Dragons responded by going to a more deliberate style of play. They finished the game on a 17-5 run for the 71-57 victory.
For the second straight game, Paris was without starting sophomore guard Trevon Seymore, who was ejected for his part in a pre-game altercation with Trinity Valley on Wednesday night.
That triggered an automatic 2-game suspension, which feels more like a 3-game suspension since he not only didn’t get to play against Trinity Valley in a game for the undisputed conference lead, he also had to sit out against Panola and the next game, which is next Saturday against Navarro in Corsicana.
Losing Seymore is a huge loss. You don’t realize how important someone like Seymore is until you are forced to go without him, Taylor said.
“You take your best defender off the court, you take your all-everything guy off the court, it’s a tough deal,” he said.
The Dragons’ bye on Wednesday will give them an opportunity to rest and allow any ailments to heal up, “and get ready for Navarro next Saturday,” Taylor said.
Panola (4-8, 11-12) — Brandon Herman 5 0-2 11, Brendt Pickens 2 0-0 5, Stefan Bangelav 1 0-0 3, Malik Fields 6 0-0 12, Ricky Roberts 1 0-0 2, Geru Mabrey 3 5-9 11, Insa Kaba 1 0-0 2, Josh Morris 0 1-2 1. Totals: 19 6-13 47. Three-Pointers: 3 (Herman, Pickens, Bangelav). Fouls: 16 (Herman 4, Pickens 1, Bangelav 2, Fields 2, Roberts 1, Kaba 2, Morris 4).
Paris (9-2, 18-2) — Jovan Austin 1 4-6 6, Delvin Dickerson 4 2-2 10, Brandon Scott 3 2-2 10, Keith Shivers 3 0-0 7, Xavier Dupree 1 0-0 2, Joe Haynes 4 1-3 10, Qua Doster 0 0-0 0, Ronnie White 4 2-2 10, henoc Bienne 0 0-0 0, Andrew Arredondo 1 0-0 2, Noucoum Bocoum 6 2-3 14, Andre Barnes 0 0-0 0. Totals: 27 13-18 71. Three-Pointers: 4 (Scott 2, Shivers 1, Haynes 1). Fouls: 11 (Scott 2, Shivers 1, Dupree 1, Haynes 1, Doster 1, White 3, Bienne 2).