In the second round of the Bank of the Ozarks tournament, the Paris Eagles ran into the red-hot Ozark Hillbillies. After falling in their worst loss of the season early in December, 60-24, the Eagles knew they were a heavy underdog.
Though Paris played from behind most of the evening, it was a much closer game than their previous effort. The Eagles would fall 51-40 in the semifinal game. In the third-place game they would face local rival Scranton after they narrowly lost to County Line a night earlier.
The game was close all the way through, with Scranton owning the opening period and Paris the second. It was a clash of styles, as Scranton wanted to get into a set half hour offers and Paris wanted to pressure the full length of the court and harass Scranton to score transition baskets. As the second half closed, the game was tied and the Rockets had possession. Paris pressured the inbounds pass, getting a steal. As seconds ticked away, it looked as if Paris would convert a last-second layup and a win, but the ball got loose, and in the ensuing scrum, the ball popped out. That is when Scranton scooped up the loose ball and passed the length of the court for a buzzer-beating short jumper. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Eagles and a great emotional boost for Scranton after their hard-fought loss a night earlier.
Paris would have a short turnaround and again hit the road, this time to Lamar. Again, a highly contested game would come down to the fourth quarter. Jordan Moore was aggressive on the glass all evening, putting in 10 points, and Grayson Ward scored 15 as the Eagles tried for a road win. Kris Graham kept up his pace, again eclipsing the 30-point mark, totaling 34. But it would not be enough as the Eagles again dropped a close game on the road.
At 4-12, the Eagles are struggling to find their way, especially on the road. Fortunately, they will now have a lopsided home schedule, first hosting Cedarville, then Charleston on Friday.