It was a shooter’s night in Paris last evening as both the Paris Eagles and Lady Eagles completed a regular season sweep of Two Rivers with decisive victories in both senior boys and girls games. For the Eagles, senior Nick Bazyk led Paris with a school record 45 points against the Gators. Bazyk got off to a blazing first quarter start with 14 points and did not cool off for the entire game.
The Eagles raced to a big early lead in the first half. Two Rivers fought back and was able to reduce the Eagles lead to as little as 8 points at different times during the second half. Paris dominated the game, but seemingly could not put away the scrappy Gators. But, unlike many games this year for Paris, the Eagles closed out the game with a strong fourth quarter to eventually win the game by a score of 80-59.
Paris coach Mike Foster was happy with the fast start and finish his team was able to execute against Two Rivers. “We got off to a fast start scoring 28 points in the first quarter and took a 9 point lead into the half. We were able to open up the game in the 3rd quarter and went on to a 80-59 win.”
The Paris Lady Eagles defeated Two Rivers 64-55 and improved their conference record to 5-4. The Paris win completed the regular season sweep of the Lady Gators. As conference teams begin the second half of the conference round robin, separation of the teams in the conference standings begins to take place. Paris’s victory over Two Rivers firmly entrenches the Lady Eagles in fourth place, two games ahead of Two Rivers. Paris is two games behind third place Jessieville, and Perryville. Perryville lost to Lamar on Thursday night and is now two games behind Lamar who is in first place with a 9-0 record.
Paris coach Dustin Williams remarked, “I’m proud of the intensity and effort on the defensive end. I thought we did a good job trying to pressure and frustrate their key players. Had a great night on the defensive glass. Tonight, we showed the ability to knock down big shots when we needed them. Four players combined for 11 three point shots. We had a really strong push at the end of the third quarter to help hold them off. Two Rivers has some very talented basketball players on their team and they are very well coached. They can definitely beat anyone on any give night, but, so can we.”
Paris had three players in double figures in scoring on Thursday night. Jadyn Hart again led the way with 33 points. Harlie Watts, who has come on strong in the past few weeks, added 12 points. The third player in double figures for the Lady Eagles was Karsyn Tencleve with 10 points. Paton Forbis and Jacee Hart rounded out the scoring with 5 points and 4 points respectively. Jadyn Hart’s 33 points was the sixth time this season with 30 or more points.
The Lady Eagles started the season slowly as the team that had very little varsity court experience took their lumps and bruises early. But as the season has progressed, the team continues to improve with each game, and now, the Lady Eagles are playing like a cohesive, experienced team, and who knows what this team can accomplish down the line. Coach Williams added, “We were 3-8 overall before the Christmas break. Since that time, we are now 5=1 after the break and 8-2 overall. The team has turned this into 11-10 overall and 5-4 in conference.”
If the Lady Eagles continue to win and make a run in the post-season, a strong case could be made for Dustin Williams to be the conference coach of the year. He and the Paris assistants have done a masterful job with this team.
According to Max Preps, the girls conference standings as of January 24 are:
Two Rivers 3-5
Fountain Lake 2-7
Up next for Paris are important conference games at Atkins on Tuesday, January 28 and at home against Perryville on Thursday night, January 30. If the Lady Eagles can sweep both games next week, they will wake up on Saturday morning just one game out of third place. Paris would still have a February 7 match-up with Jessieville that could potentially vault Paris into third place as the end of the conference season approaches.
The Paris Eagles will be looking to avenge an earlier home loss to Atkins when they go on the road Tuesday night to play the Red Devils. Atkins defeated Paris 67-55 on January 7. The Eagles have played well and are shooting the ball well with scorer Nick Bazyk leading the way. It will be a tough week for the Eagles, but as this team has shown all year, they are mentally tough and play hard every game. Paris is playing tough pressure defense and is pushing the ball up the court and creating scoring opportunities for Bazyk and the Paris back court. Conference teams cannot afford to overlook the overachieving Eagles.
After the Tuesday night road trip to Atkins, the Lady Eagles and Eagles need a packed house at Paris Gymnasium on Thursday when the Perryville Mustangs come calling. Paris needs a decisive home court advantage against the Mustangs.
*Due to a corrupted SD Card, the photos for the girls game could not be published. We deeply apologize for this error.