Anytime the Hornets and Eagles get together for a contest in any sport, fans from both schools can expect a spirited contest that is highly competitive in every aspect. Last evening’s 3A-4 conference basketball match-ups between the visiting Paris Eagles and Hackett was certainly no exception. And at the end of a hotly-contested night of basketball in Hackett, it was the Hornets sweeping Paris with a pair of senior girls and boys victories.
In the girls game, Hackett built a nine point advantage at intermission. In the second half, the Lady Eagles employed full-court pressure and erased the deficit by the end of the third quarter. But the Lady Hornets came swarming back to take control of the game until late in the fourth quarter. With under a minute to play in the game, Paris trailed by three points and had possession of the basketball. Junior guard Jayden Wells raced down the court on the offensive transition and pulled up for a three point shot to tie the game. At the same time of Wells’s shot, the Paris bench called time out. Wells’s shot went in, popping the net, but the shot did not count, erasing what would have been a tie game. Paris was unable to retake the lead after the time out, and the Lady Hornets went on to victory over Paris. The Hackett win avenged an earlier conference loss to the Lady Eagles in Paris. The final score was Hackett 44, Paris 41.
In senior boys action between the two schools, Paris went into the game having split the first two meetings with the Hornets. Paris defeated Hackett in December in their first conference match-up at Paris Gymnasium, and then lost to the Hornets in the quarterfinals of the Bill Frye Holiday Classic in Mansfield. The two teams were playing for a chance to remain in the hunt for the top seed in the 3A-4 conference.
Hackett came out strong with great outside shooting, as well as dominant play on the glass on both ends of the floor. Both teams played tough defensive pressure and the Eagles fought hard to stay in the game. Perhaps most impressive in the win was how effectively Hackett seized control of the fourth quarter to ice the win for the Hornets. With approximately seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Hackett coach Kent Elmore deployed a ball-control, four-corners style offense that bled valuable time off the clock and forced Paris to press on offense, committing mistakes and missed shots on their offensive possessions. The Hackett ball handlers took care of the basketball and patiently awaited the opportunity to get high-percentage shots underneath the Paris basket. As a result, Paris was never able to close the gap, and the Hornets went on to a big 56-47 conference victory.
Paris has little time to think about the losses because they will travel again on Thursday, this time to Booneville for another conference game that will be highly competitive in a hostile environment for the Eagles. The Booneville girls are one of, if not the top team, in the Class 3A state rankings. The Booneville senior boys are a much improved team after having lost to Mansfield during the Bill Frye tournament. Both schools will be looking for wins to continue their climb in conference rankings before the start of next month’s district tournament.
Resident Press will be in Booneville on Thursday and back at Paris on Friday for the Eagles’ games with the Bearcats and with Danville. Photos from Tuesday’s game at Hackett will be published on Facebook at Paris Eagles Sports by Friday evening of this week. The RP story for the Booneville and Danville games will be published this weekend with photos to follow on Facebook by next week.
Stay with Resident Press for the latest on Paris Eagles and Lady Eagles basketball, and I look forward to seeing you in Booneville tomorrow night!