Jessieville’s game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer looked like it was right on line.
But it missed by a few inches, leaving Paris to celebrate a wild victory in the 3A tournament quarterfinals on Monday. Paris defeated Jessieville, 51-49.
Paris (29-6) moves on to the semifinals for the first time in school history, one win away from the state championship game.
"I started to lean, my glasses went flying off and I fell flat on my back," Paris coach Toby Tevebaugh said. "It looked pretty good, but thank the Lord it didn’t go in."
Paris’ Morgan Highfield flew at the Jessieville shooter, tipping it slightly, avoiding contact and disrupting the shot just enough to make a difference.
"Morgan was supposed to be face-guarding her, but she got lost for a second," Tevebaugh said. "She did a good job of making up ground at the last second. We work on that in practice and at avoiding the foul."
Freshman sensation Lycia Peevy scored 16 points for Paris and senior Christa Huber had 15 to go along with nine from Highfield.
Peevy’s defense in the fourth quarter made the big difference as she pulled down four critical defensive rebounds and blocked a shot with the game on the line.
"We work on her a lot in standing straight up on defense because we don’t want her in foul trouble," Tevebaugh said. "She had a little bit of height on them and got aggressive late in the game and came up with some big plays."
Paris trailed 45-42 with 3:00 to play but Peevy and Huber both scored for a 6-0 run. But Jessieville answered with a 3-pointer with less than one minute to play, setting the scene for the final seconds.
"It was like a Rocky fight," Tevebaugh said. "One team would come out slugging and land some good punches, but then the other team would come back and get in some shots, too."
3A State Tournament
Game 1: Riverview 60, Centerpoint 39
Game 3: Harding Academy 44, Fordyce 18
Game 5: Rivercrest 56, Mansfield 50 (OT)
Game 7: Paris 47, Manila 36
Game 9: Valley Springs 47, West Fork 30
Game 11: Melbourne 53, Danville 47
Game 13: eStem 55, McGehee 38
Game 15: Jessieville 63, Genoa Central 47
Game 17: Riverview 59, Valley Springs 58 (OT)
Game 19: Harding Academy 55, Melbourne 35
Game 21: eStem 58, Rivercrest 53
Game 23: Paris 51, Jessieville 49
Semifinal: Riverview vs. Harding Academy, 1 p.m.
Semifinal: eStem vs. Paris, 4 p.m.