Paris traveled to Crawford County on Tuesday night for an important conference match-up with Cedarville. And when the night was over, Paris returned home having lost their second consecutive road conference game in the past two weeks. Both the Lady Eagles and the Eagles struggled against the home standing Pirates, and for Paris, the questions continue with respect to what has happened to both teams who started the season with so much promise.
Both the Paris senior boys and girls team are young and had little varsity experience going into this season. But as the schedule moves into mid-January, both teams have approximately 4-5 weeks to right the ship before post-season play. The teams’ fortunes for what ultimately happens this season now lies in the post-season, but the time is now for both teams to make a run and secure the highest possible seedings going into the post-season to avoid play a top seed team in the first round of the district tournament. If Paris does not do this, the season could be over early for both the Eagles and Lady Eagles.
It has been a year of change for Paris basketball. New, young, and talented players fill the rosters of both teams, and the Paris basketball program is being coached by new head coaches. In watching Tuesday’s games in Cedarville, there is a clear sense of frustration on both teams. Perhaps this is an indication of young, inexperienced players combining with new coaches who are attempting to implement their systems and philosophies, or, perhaps it is something much deeper. One can only speculate. Only the players and coaches really know what needs to be fixed. But whatever it is, time is running out for both teams to be a factor in post-season play in February.
The Lady Eagles played hard in their game at Cedarville, and kept the score within range of being in position to win for most of the game. But as Paris would close the gap, it seemed that very quickly Cedarville would respond with a run of their own to keep the Lady Eagles from turning the corner and winning the game. The Lady Pirates played tough defense and looked to run on offense at every opportunity.
After the game, Lady Eagles head coach Donald Hart said, “We’ve go to be able to hit free throws and finish around the rim to compete with teams in our league.” It appeared from Coach Hart’s comments that he was not pleased with the play down low around the basket. Junior forward Akira Robinson returned to the team after being quarantined for the previous week, but did not play as much as some anticipated. When she was in the game, she seemed to have a positive effect down low on both offense and defense. Robinson returned to the team on Monday, so she could see more minutes on Friday against Booneville. Senior guard Jadyn Hart led Paris scoring with 25 points. Cedarville defeated the Lady Eagles by a score of 56-44. Paris is now 2-4 in conference play and 7-7 overall. The Lady Eagles are in sixth place in the eight team conference, four games behind conference leader Danville. If the season were to end today, the Lady Eagles would again face Cedarville in the first round of the district tournament that will be held at Cedarville. Friday’s game with Booneville is extremely important to Paris as it would propel the Lady Eagles ahead of Booneville and into fifth place in the conference.
So for Paris, the time is now. They must forget about what has happened up to now and focus on the Lady Bearcats. It will be a big night in front of the Paris home crowd on Winter Court night, and Paris needs this game.
For the senior boys, the team’s struggles continued as the Eagles are still looking for a way to convert baskets and scoring opportunities against tough defensive pressure that they are seeing each night in conference play. Eagles head coach Blain Brewington commented after the game by saying, “Our offensive struggles continue for us. Defensively, we gave up too many three’s. We have to be better at finding shooters and not letting them get shots off. I thought we did a good job of rebounding the basketball for the most part. Our kids continue to play hard; we are preaching to them to continue to show up everyday, work out, be coachable, and have a great attitude and the rest will take care of itself.”
Cedarville defeated Paris by a score of 67-39. The Pirates three point shooting was devastating to the Eagles defense, and as Coach Brewington said, the Eagles must find a way to find those shooters and play much better defense against the outside shot. Paris is now 7-7 and last won at home in December against Danville.
So Paris fans, the great thing about sports like basketball is that you don’t have to wait a week, like you do in football, to play again and to have the chance to get the bad taste of losing your last game out of your mind. The Eagles will have an opportunity on Friday to make everything much better when they host Booneville at Paris Gymnasium. Regardless of records, it is always going to be an intense and hard fought game when these two schools get together. Come out and support Paris basketball on Winter Court night. Winter Court ceremonies will begin at 5 p.m.
Additional photos from both games are available on Facebook at Paris Eagles Sports. The junior varsity boys played in Cedarville, and their photos are also available at Paris Eagles Sports. It was great to see these players get the chance to play and be rewarded for their practice time, and for them to have a chance to develop as players.
See you at Paris Gymnasium on Friday for a very important match-up with Booneville!