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Monday, August 15, 2022

Gritty Paris District Tournament Effort Lands Eagles in Regionals as a #2 Seed

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It was a great week of high school post-season basketball last week at Cedarville. In the 3A-4 district tournament, the fifth seed Paris Eagles won three games and advanced to the tournament championship game to face the host school Cedarville Pirates. Both the Eagles and Pirates played hard in a tightly contested game, but it was the Cedarville Pirates, the number two seed going into the tournament, defeating Paris by the score of 54-48. Cedarville advanced to this week’s regional tournament that will be hosted by Booneville High School as the top seed from the 3A-4 conference, and Paris will advance as the number two seed.

The Eagles played four games in five days and won games against Danville, Hackett, and the tournament’s number one seed, Waldron. It remained to be seen if the Eagles would have the energy to play a fourth game versus a team that was playing just their second game of the tournament. But the Eagles fought hard against the home standing Pirates, and both fan bases packed their respective sides of Pirates Gymnasium with enthusiastic fans and students from both schools. It was a great night of basketball, and both schools should be commended for the great support they showed to both teams. In fact, the Cedarville administration and coaches should be commended on a well-ran tournament. Both Cedarville and Paris should be strong contenders in the regional tournament to advance to next week’s state tournament that will be hosted by Valley Springs. Joining Cedarville and Paris in the regional from the 3A-4 will be Waldron and Charleston in boys bracket play.

Paris began the week with a decisive victory over Danville on Monday in the first round of the tournament. On Tuesday, the Eagles avenged a late-season loss at Hackett with a second round victory over the Hornets that sent the Eagles to the regional tournament, and set-up a match with the tournament’s top seed, Waldron. The top two seeds of the tournament had byes to the semifinals that were played on Thursday.

On Thursday, the Eagles played their third game in four days against a rested and number one seed Waldron Bulldogs team. The Eagles played hard and hit clutch free throws in the final two minutes to upset the Bulldogs and send Paris to the finals. Cedarville, on that same night, defeated Charleston to set up the finals match with the Eagles.

Paris entered the finals having lost both prior matches with Cedarville, hoping to upset the Pirates on their home court for the top seed going into this week’s regional tournament. But it was not to be; Cedarville is a very good team and is virtually unbeatable at home in front of their home fans. The Pirates have a great home court advantage that is a tribute to the fans, cheerleaders, band, and others who all come together to support their team. Resident Press congratulates Cedarville and wishes them the best as the top seed in Region 1 in this week’s regional tournament.

Paris concluded a great week at the district tournament by finishing as 3A-4 runner-ups (Resident Press Photo / Jim Best)

But even though the Eagles fell short, everyone can be very proud of their efforts and accomplishments in the district tournament. And at the top of that list is their coach, Josh Ferrell. After the game, Ferrell commented, “I am so proud of my guys. We had a tough road in the district tournament but we never backed down. I felt like we played as hard as we could each and every game in the tournament. We had some runs and deficits to overcome in almost every game and we battled it out and found ways to win. We played some of our best basketball this week. Ran into a great Cedarville team in the finals in a very good atmosphere at their place. We came up a little short, but we fought until the end. We had everyone contribute to each game, and that’s what we need this time of year. I’m excited to see us bounce bounce back next week in the regionals and hopefully extend our season one more week into the state tournament.”

Cedarville Pirates: 2022 3A-4 District Tournament Champions (Resident Press Photo / Jim Best)

The Class 3A Region 1 Tournament will be hosted this year by Booneville High School. The Eagles’ first game will be versus Valley Springs who is also the host for next week’s state tournament and will be playing Paris for the right to play in the state tournament on their own floor next week. So Valley should have extra motivation going into the game with Paris, and the gritty Eagles will have to be rested and ready to once again give a maximum effort to win this very important first game in the regional tournament. The game is set for Thursday at 8:30 p.m.

Congratulations to the Paris Eagles and to their coach, Josh Ferrell, for a great season and an outstanding district tournament performance. Best of luck to the Eagles and their bid to return to the Class 3A state tournament!

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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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