PJC’s likely first-round game is with defending champion South Plains, but Dragons aren’t scared

Paris Junior College’s Region XIV champion men’s basketball team (26-7) hasn’t played anyone they couldn’t score points on in a hurry this season — and that includes defending national champion South Plains College, which was ranked as high as No. 1 during the season before finishing the season at No. 5.

The two teams met on Nov. 2, 2013, in the Collin Classic tournament at Plano — the opening game of PJC’s 2013-2014 season. Paris’ Dragons led South Plains with less than three minutes to go before eventually losing 69-65.

The Texans of Levelland, Texas, are likely the Dragons’ opponent at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at the NJCAA men’s junior college championships at Hutchinson, Kan. PJC is the No. 8 seed with a first-round bye and will play the winner of Monday’s first-round game between No. 9 seed South Plains (27-5) and No. 24 seed Cape Fear (19-13).

The Texans won their first 13 games this season before losing 73-72 to Monroe. They ran their record to 20-1 before losing 76-56 to Odessa and 81-70 to Western Texas in back-to-back games to fall to 20-3. They won two more and then lost 105-94 to Clarendon. Then they won five in a row before losing 86-51 to Hill College in the semifinals of the Region 5 tournament on Friday at Lubbock.

Here’s a look back at that Paris-South Plains game four months ago:

Nouhoum Bohoum (in yellow) scores one of his four straight baskets in the first half as South Plains’ Roderick Lawrence (20) defends. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

Nouhoum Bohoum (in yellow) scores one of his four straight baskets in the first half as South Plains’ Roderick Lawrence (20) defends. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

PLANO, Texas — Billydee Williams, a 6-5 sophomore guard, knocked down two slam dunks during an 11-2 run for South Plains College that opened up a 10-point lead over Paris Junior College in the first half.

South Plains, ranked No. 9 nationally in the preseason junior college poll, led PJC’s Dragons 39-29 at the half.

But Paris scored the first nine points of the second half to cut South Plains’ lead to 39-38.

Delvin Dickerson led a 10-2 run that finally got the Dragons a 68-66 lead with three and a half minutes to play.

Every time Paris threatened, Williams — not even a starter, then or now — answered with a 3-pointer. He had six 3’s, five of them the second half.

Williams scored 27 points and pulled down 12 rebounds.

Joe Haynes had 18 points, 3 steals and 2 assists for Paris, and Dickerson had 17 points and 6 rebounds.

“Yeah, we kept coming back, but the thing is, when you come back, you can’t keep stubbing your toe,” PJC head coach Chuck Taylor said at the time.

Trevon Seymore scores for Paris on a baseline drive. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

Trevon Seymore scores for Paris on a baseline drive. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

A PJC player stepped out of bounds on the in-bounds pass at a crucial time in the final minute, and the Dragons didn’t seem to be in as much of a hurry as Taylor would have preferred during the last couple of minutes.

“I’ve got young guards, and unfortunately, in this league, they’ve got to grow up in a hurry. They know A, B and C, but they don’t understand yet the other things you have to do to get to D, E and F, and make those work as well,” Taylor said.

Taking advantage of five early SPC turnovers, Paris took an early 4-0 lead in the game, including a goal and a free throw from Haynes. But that was the Dragons’ largest lead of the game.

Williams’ only 3-pointer of the first half gave the Texans a 12-12 tie with 12:45 before intermission,

Nouhoum Bocoum, a 6-9 sophomore from Harlem, N.Y., came off the bench kept pace with four straight baskets inside for Paris, but South Plains’ 6-2 guard, Andre Spight, made a 3-pointer and two free throws to start a 14-4 run for a 26-18 lead.

The Texans’ advantage grew to 11 points – their largest lead of the game — at 34-23 with 5:34 left in the first half. The score was tied three times – at 12-12, 14-14, and 66-66.

The lead changed hands five times – once when South Plains finally went ahead at 19-16 midway through the first half.

zzz PJC South Plains Delvin-Dickerson-58-56

Delvin Dickerson scores for Paris in November game against South Plains College. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

Paris reclaimed the lead at 51-50 on Haynes’ 3-pointer with 11:34 to play, but Williams answered with his own 3-pointer, starting a run of eight straight points for a 58-51 South Plains lead.

Dickerson scored twice as the Dragons closed the gap to 58-56, and Paris twice missed baskets inside that would have brought them even.

Williams hit 3-pointers his next two trips down court, increasing the lead to 64-58 in the span of 34 seconds.

Dickerson hit a 3-pointer and added three free throws, and Haynes scored a basket that tied the game at 66-66 with 4:20 to play.

Billydee Williams hits one of his six 3-pointers for the Texans. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

Billydee Williams hits one of his six 3-pointers for the Texans. (eParisExtra photo by Charles Richards)

Phil Roberts gave the Dragons a 68-66 lead at 3:29 with a pair of free throws, but Williams came back with another 3-pointer moments later, and PJC was unable to overcome a very talented South Plains team.

“They’re a good team, and it was a tough game, but I’m proud of our resiliency, the way we hung in there,” Taylor said.

“But this is going to help get us ready for our league. We did a lot of good things, but we did some bad things as well, so we’ve got to do better. We made 18 of 24 free throws – 75 percent. Unfortunately, they got to the line 42 times (making 26).”

Taylor said the Dragons “are about where I thought we would be” at this point. They won five of six scrimmages they played in October, losing only to Texas A&M-Commerce.

“We’ve still got to get better, but we’re definitely on track,” Taylor said. “There’s not any question about that. We’ve just got to keep working.”

 PARIS                          29-46—75

SOUTH PLAINS           39-40—79

 PARIS – Jovan Austin 1-4 6-8 8, Delvin Dickerson 7-15 3-4 17, Trevon Seymore 4-10 1-2 9, Joe Haynes 7-12 1-2 18, Ronnie White 3-7 2-2 8, Brandon Scott 0-2 3-4 3, Keith Shivers 1-4 0-0 2, Xavier Dupree 0-2 0-0 0, Terrell Colbert 0-0 0-0 0, Qua Doster 0-1 0-0 0, Phil Roberts 0-0 2-2 2, Henoc Bienne 0-1 0-0 0, Nouhoum Bocoum 4-7 0-0 8. Totals: 27-65 18-24 75. 3-Pointers: 3-13 (Dickerson 0-4, Seymore 0-1, Haynes 3-4, Scott 0-1, Dupree 0-1, Doster 0-1, Bienne 0-1). Fouls: 28 (White 5). Rebounds: 31 (White 8). Assists: 8 (Seymore 3). Turnovers: 11. Blocks: 3 (White 2, Roberts 1). Steals: 5 (Haynes 3). Record: 0-1.

 SOUTH PLAINS – Emmanuel Omogbo 4-6 4-7 12, Sekou Harris  1-4 7-10 9, Malik Nichols 1-5 1-4 3, Roderick Lawrence 1-9 3-4 5, Brandon Neal 4-7 4-8 12, Andre Spight 2-7 4-4 9, Billydee Williams 10-18 1-1 27, Darrel Lucky 0-0 1-2 1, Clayton Jones 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 23-56 26-42 79. 3-Pointers: 7-27 (Omogbo 0-1, Nichols 0-1, Lawrence 0-7, Neel 0-1, Spight 1-5, Williams 6-12). Fouls: 22 (Harris, Nichols, Spight).Rebounds: 45 (Williams 12).  Assists: 11 (Harris 5). Turnovers: 20. Blocks: 1 (Harris). Steals:  6 (Neal, Williams ). Record: 2-0.

By Charles Richards, eparisExtra

Nouhoum Bohoum (in yellow) scores one of his four straight baskets in the first half as South Plains’ Roderick Lawrence (20) defends.

Billydee Williams (2) hits a 3-pointer to put South Plains ahead to stay, 69-68, with 3:15 to play.


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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.