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Sunday, October 2, 2022

Bulldogs Sweep Paris at the Waldron Events Center

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As if the Paris basketball program has not had enough challenges with its young teams playing varsity basketball for the first year, the Lady Eagles and Eagles senior teams traveled to Waldron to play another set of important conference games. Waldron is tough on their home floor, and Paris knew it would have to play extremely well to be competitive with Waldron.

The Lady Eagles led Waldron for most of the game and looked as if they had a chance to defeat the Lady Bulldogs for the second time this season. But a much-improved Waldron team battled tough and managed to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, the game came down to a foul called on Paris with one second remaining in the game that put Waldron on the foul line with the game tied. Waldron hit the first free throw to take the lead, and after missing the second, Paris was able to call time out with 0.6 seconds remaining in the game. The Lady Eagles attempted a long, full-court pass that went awry and the game was over. It was a heart-breaking loss for the Lady Eagles who have struggled the entire month of January in conference play.

A last second Paris desperation pass goes awry (Resident Press Photo)

After the game, Paris coach Donald Hart said, “We’ve got to continue working on getting better at scoring the basketball. Hopefully, we can get back on the right track before heading into the district tournament.” And that is what remains for this young group of Lady Eagles; Paris has to continue to focus and play hard to improve as much as they can before the season ends. As we have presented in previous stories, the higher seeding the Lady Eagles can achieve before the season ends, the more favorable first round match-up the Lady Eagles will have in the district tournament in February.

On the positive side, the Lady Eagles are young and very talented, and the young sophomores on this team have gained valuable court experience this season that should pay dividends over the next two seasons. But if you are a player or anyone closely associated with the program, that is difficult to keep in perspective at the moment. The team has struggled all season, and defensively, critical fouls throughout the game, especially following failed offensive possessions that have resulted from frustration on the offensive end, have carried over to fouls on the defensive end.

Resident Press Photo

In the senior boys game, the Eagles took on perhaps the best team in the league, the Waldron Bulldogs. Waldron handed Paris a lopsided defeat in Paris earlier in the season, and the Bulldogs are even tougher playing in front of the home fans.

Paris never threatened in the game to take a lead or be a threat to the Bulldogs. But, the Eagles played hard and showed significant improvement on defense with respect to guarding the outside shooters of Waldron. The Eagles clawed their way within seven points at halftime, and again played hard in the second half. But when it was all over, Paris just did not have the experience to play with the high-flying Bulldogs.

Resident Press Photo

Following the game, Paris head coach Blain Brewington commented, “Our kids battled and competed well with the number one team in our league. I thought we rebounded the ball extremely well on the defensive end. Too many mistakes on the offensive end that led to easy transition baskets for Waldron. Our kids are getting better each and every day. We must continue to learn from mistakes and grow daily.”

Both the senior boys and girls teams for Paris are playing extremely hard and do not like coming up short each night on the scoreboard. But their time is coming, and better days are ahead for both teams. Now is a time of test for character and seeing who wants to continue playing hard and getting better each time out. And one thing I have recognized with the players on both teams is that they are competitors and will come to play every time the ball is thrown up.

Resident Press Photo

Paris will return home on Tuesday night to play the Hackett Hornets. Scheduled games for Tuesday include junior varsity girls and boys games, as well as senior varsity girls and boys games. First game is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. And as it has been all year with the COVID pandemic, there is always the possibility that junior varsity games could be cancelled. I recommend that you check the information in the live feed on the Paris school district website before you head out Tuesday to Paris Gymnasium. Games and start times are always subject to change.

So Paris fans, your teams are growing and maturing before your eyes. Keep supporting them and know that better days are ahead for the Eagles and Lady Eagles!

See you Tuesday night!

Resident Press Photo
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Jim Best
Jim Best is a man of many talents. His storied career in Arkansas education led him to a new passion, and hidden gifts in sports journalism.
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