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All season long the Paris Lady Cats have shown an Achilles’ heal that included sporadic ball handling, horrific outside shooting, and the inability to finish in the paint. They were able to overcome those shortcomings by maintaining consistent defensive pressure, but those weaknesses were exposed in big games like their only two District 13-3A losses to Pleasant Grove and they became a fatal flaw once the playoffs started.
An athletic Kilgore team, paced by University of Houston track signee Tony Burks, ended the Lady Cats’ basketball season Friday night with a 69-53 win in an area round playoff game at Mount Pleasant.
The Lady Cats finish the year at 19-10, while Kilgore (23-8) moves on to the regional quarterfinals where the Lady Bulldogs will play Crandall.
Burks scored 28 points with 10 rebounds for Kilgore, which led the entire game and secured a commanding 22-point lead midway through the fourth period before a mild Lady Cat rally cut the gap to 12 points with two minutes remaining.
Burks attacked the basket all night, and on occasions when she didn’t take the shot, she would dish to freshman post Marshalla Lollie who scored 18 points to go with 10 rebounds.
Both teams were mirror images with a high number of turnovers, poor outside shooting, and tight defensive play which led to a parade to the free throw line. The Lady Bulldogs were 25 of 37 at the line, paced by Burks’ 16 of 23 foul shooting. The Lady Cats made just 12 of 28.
Jazz Pipkins led Paris with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Luey Bronner scored 11 before fouling out with 1:51 to play. Tat Tyson finished with 7.
So the 2013-14 season is over for the Lady Cats as well as the basketball careers of Paris’ four seniors: Bronner, Tyson, Nish Robins (4 points), and Shay Morgan (1 point). Still, head coach Ted Mackey has the program pointed in the right direction after capturing the school’s first girls basketball playoff win in 3 years.
Pipkins leads a returning cadre of 7 varsity veterans who have logged significant playing time. If they can overcome their faults, the potential is there for prolonged playoff run.
By: Tim Taylor