Lady Dragons rally in final two minutes to repel San Jacinto threat, 81-74, behind Cunningham’s 22 points

Chy Cunningham scored 22 points Wednesday to lead Paris Junior College to an 81-74 victory over San Jacinto College.

Victoria Maddox lets a 3-point attempt fly against San Jacinto on Wednesday night. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

Victoria Maddox lets a 3-point attempt fly against San Jacinto on Wednesday night. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

The lead switched hands for most of the first half before the Lady Dragons pulled away for a 40-33 halftime lead.

Paris (8-5, 14-11) led by five to seven points throughout the second half, but couldn’t put the Gators away, and a basket by Nekeita Bailey gave San Jacinto (1-12, 3-22) a 72-71 lead with 2:06 to play.

But then the Lady Dragons got a couple of big defensive stops, holding the visitors scoreless the next two minutes while running off nine points themselves.

Cunningham scored on a lay-up at 1:42 to reclaim the lead at 73-72, DaMya Toney hit a 3-pointer at 1:00, and Toney and Victoria Maddox each made two free throws at 0:26 to run the score to 80-72.

Lajeah Rice scored 20 points to lead San Jacinto. Kendra Howard added 15 points and Isis Johnson 12. Rice and Howard each made a couple of 3-pointers.

The Lady Dragons had five players in double figures. Toney and and Shanice Vaughan backed Cunningham with 14 points each, Shannon DeFoe had 12 points, and Maeghan Scott had 10 points.

“A win is a win and we’ll take it, but we just didn’t play very well tonight,” PJC head coach Michael Madrid said.

“Most of the game, I was disappointed with our effort. I didn’t think we got down and defended very well. But after we got down by a point late in the game, we locked down and got some stops, DaMya hit a big 3, and we made some free throws down the stretch. So, we responded well.”

Madrid added: “I would have liked to see us focused the entire game, and not just at the very end.”

In other Region XIV games Wednesday, it was Tyler (10-3, 21-4) by 98-85 over Blinn (10-3, 20-5), and Jacksonville (7-6, 13-11) by 77-59 over Panola (1-12, 8-17). The game between Angelina (5-7, 9-14) and Bossier Parish (3-9, 8-13) was postponed because of icy roads in Louisiana. Trinity Valley (13-0, 24-1), the nation’s No. 1-ranked junior college women’s team, was idle as was Kilgore (6-7, 12-10).

The Lady Dragons are in fourth place in the 10-team Region XIV — two games behind Tyler and Blinn and one game ahead of Jacksonville.

Next game for PJC’s women is at the Hunt Center on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Kilgore (6-7, 12-10). Men’s teams for the two schools will follow at 4 p.m.

San Jacinto   33-41–74

Paris             40-41–81

San Jacinto (1-12, 3-22) – Sarah Davis 1 1-2 3, D. Auguste 1 0-0 2, Victoria Youman 3 1-2 7, Nekeita Bailey 4 0-2 8, Isis Johnson 5 2-3 12, Lajeah Rice 9 0-0 20, Kendra Howard 5 3-5 15, Jacoiya Brown 0 0-0 0, Raven Wilson 3 1-3 7. Totals: 31  8-17 74. Three-Pointers: 4 (Rice 2, Howard 2). Fouls: 23. Fouled Out: Wilson.

Paris (8-5, 14-11) — Chy Cunningham 9 3-5 22, DaMya Toney 5 3-6 14, Lea Holt 0 0-0 0, Victoria Maddox 0 4-4 4, Shanice Vaughan 6 0-0 14, Catarina Rendon 2 1-4 5, Maeghan Scott 3 2-2 10, Shannon DeFoe 4 4-5 12. Totals: 29 17-26 81. Three-Pointers: 6 (Cunningham 1, Toney 1, Vaughan 2, Scott 2). Fouls: 21. Fouled Out: None.


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About the Author

Charles Richards Charles Richards moved to Paris in 2004 after retiring from a 40-year career in journalism – the last 26 years as a news writer and sports writer with The Associated Press in Dallas and Washington, D.C. In mid-2004, The Paris News coaxed him out of retirement, and he began covering the police, court and regional beat for The Paris News. Then in early 2005, he was switched to coverage of a sharply divided Paris City Council. He was appointed by the City Council in 2006 to the 12-member City Charter Review Commission, which extensively rewrote the outmoded document. His writing awards include two first-place awards in statewide competition for feature writing. The most recent was his 2005 story on a Paris doctor’s startling use of leeches in a successful attempt to re-attach a man’s severed ear. Over his career, Richards’ interview subjects include Alabama Gov. George Wallace, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, David Koresh, Arnold Palmer, Muhammad Ali and numerous other political and sports figures. He is an alumnus of Texas Tech, where he was editor of the school newspaper. He lives in Paris with his wife, Barbara, who is retired after 30 years as a teacher and high school counselor.