After having a tough run in the first two rounds of the Bank of the Ozarks tournament, the Lady Eagles found themselves facing Logan County rival Scranton for the championship.
The final game was a back and forth affair, with scoring coming at a premium. Paris jumped out to a 14-2 lead after the opening period, but from there, they were unable to maintain the momentum. They led 20-12 at the half, but the lead was only two after the third period. Paris maintained the pressure though, and in the end, pulled out a 35-34 victory. In the win, Kieli Robinson scored 19 and Lexy Lee added another nine to lead the Eagles.
The win was quite the feat for a Lady Eagles team that played three games in three days in tournament action with only seven players on the active roster. They would only have a few days to rest on their winter break as a trip to Lamar was slated for the following Tuesday. Lamar was the number eight ranked team in the state and had players returning to action that would give them more scoring power. All things pointed to a lopsided Paris lost.
Fortunately, they still get to play the games.
To say Paris started slow was an understatement. However, the Lady Eagles turned up the defense, led by Brynn Simmons. At the half, they had made up the deficit and then some, holding Lamar to a measly four points in the second quarter and taking a 19-16 lead.
In the third, the offense started rolling, keyed by some timely layups from Lee. KenLeigh Robertson and Leah Quijada are finding their place in the rotation, contributing more each week. Robinson scored 15 of her game-high 24 in the second half, including 10 in the fourth, hitting clutch free-throws down the stretch to put the Lady Eagles up three.
They would win by two and knock off Lamar for their best effort of the season. Coach Dustin Williams has been able to develop a style of play that works with his short bench.
Up next for Paris is somewhat of a rarity, a home game. They host Cedarville Tuesday, followed by a home rivalry game against Charleston on Friday. The Lady Eagles are now 8-9 on the season and can climb above .500 this week.