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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Paris Ends Week with Wins Over Booneville and Danville

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The Paris Eagles won their second conference game on Friday against the Danville Little Johns in a week that saw the Eagles play three conference games. Earlier in the week, Paris lost a road game to Hackett, but then rebounded to win a big road game on Thursday at Booneville. Just 24 hours later, the Eagles returned home for a convincing win over Danville. The Paris victories helped create a log jam near the top of the 3A-4 conference. The Eagles will travel to Charleston next week for a very important game with the Tigers who are one game in front of Paris in a tie for third place with Booneville. A Paris win would drop Charleston out of third place, and, depending on the outcome of the Bearcats’ games next week, could propel the Eagles into a tie for third. Of course, all of this is very important because of its impact on final conference standing and subsequent seedings going into the district tournament. A third place or higher finish would result in possibly an easier path to the regionals.

The Paris boys are seemingly playing their best basketball of the season just at the right time. The team has been inconsistent for much of the season, but Josh Ferrell’s Eagles are now starting to put wins together as the team approaches the post season. Intensity of defense, and great inside play on both offense and defense has been a difference maker for the Eagles. Sophomore guard Konnor Edwards has matured as the season has progressed and is making big plays in the Eagles’ wins. Paris seems to be overcoming the loss of players that occurred just before Christmas and has now found their identity as a team. I look for the Eagles to continue to improve and play their way into the regional tournament.

Thursday’s one point victory at Booneville epitomizes the grit and determination of an Eagles team that has struggled until late to win consistently. In a very hostile road environment, the Eagles led the Bearcats for most of the way and were able to make big plays on both ends of the court to stave off a furious Booneville come-back attempt. It was a good response by the Eagles after suffering a setback just two days earlier at Hackett. Again, the rebound and the effort to win two games on Thursday and Friday after the Hackett loss is an indication of significant improvement and maturity for this team. The Eagles will go on the road next week at Charleston for a huge conference match-up before returning home to play Cossatot River on Friday for another important conference game on the Eagles’ Senior Night.

For the Paris Lady Eagles, the struggle continue as the team continues to fight hard with low roster numbers. And now, Paris will play the rest of the season without junior Brailey Forst who played her final game of the season on Thursday at Booneville and had foot surgery the following Friday morning. Forst will now rehab and resume training for her senior year next season. But for the Lady Eagles, the past week included a game at Booneville against the undefeated Lady Bearcats who I believe are a legitimate top eight or top four team in the state. I look for Booneville to make a deep run in the state tournament. Booneville will host this year’s regional tournament, and the Lady Bearcats will be playing on their home court for a state tournament slot, as well as possibly a number one seed going into the state tournament. I believe the Lady Bearcats will be a top seed entering the state tournament and should not be significantly challenged until the state semifinals. They are an excellent blend of both young and experienced talent, and the Lady Bearcats will be good for the next few years.

On an additional scheduling note, an additional non-conference game with Lamar has been scheduled on February 3 at Paris Gymnasium. There will be a junior girls game scheduled for 6 p.m. to be followed by a senior boys game. Senior night has been changed to Friday, February 4 vs. Cossatot River.

Paris travels to Charleston on Tuesday, February 1. Paris fans need to turn out in big numbers at Tiger Center to support both the Lady Eagles and Eagles in this 3A-4 match-up! See you there!

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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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