WILLS POINT - The Paris Wildcats overcame a 14-point second half deficit, scoring 28 fourth-quarter points, to eliminate the Henderson Lions Tuesday night in the third round of the regional basketball playoffs 70-60.
It was an up and down game for the Lions from start to finish.
They were tagged with two technical fouls for pre-game dunking.
Paris hit three of the four shots and then buried a trey in the first possession and Henderson found themselves down 6-0.
However, the Lions went into high gear and tied the game at 9-9 at the 3:35 mark and took a 13-11 lead not 70 seconds later.
Henderson took a 33-24 lead at the half.
Henderson went on a 7-2 run early in the third quarter to take a 40-26 lead and was leading 45-33 with less than three minutes left in the quarter. They went scoreless for the rest of the period and led 45-42 in the process.
Paris scored the first six points of the fourth quarter courtesy of three Lion turnover. Henderson would turn the ball over another six times.
While the Lions scored 15 points in the quarter, the momentum had already swung in Paris’ direction.
“I was extremely proud of kids in the final game,” said Henderson Coach Joshua Francis. “We faced adversity and didn’t back down. We had a chance to win the game against a very competitive team. Our kids played hard all the way until the final seconds. I couldn’t be more proud of our effort and our attitude.”
Byron Collins led the Lions with 27 points, followed by Caleb Medford with 13 points and Makail Washington with 10 points.
The Lions accomplished feats not seen by a basketball team in recent memory.
• It was the first solo district title in about 30 years.
• The third-round playoff game was the deepest penetration in the playoffs in recent memory.
“Our season was a success. We faced adversity all year long, but in the end our kids improved every day,” Francis said. “We won district for the first time in many years and won two games in the playoffs. We will continue to get better and work hard what comes next.”
Henderson went 18-11 on the season with five pre-district losses of 10 point or less.
They went 11-1 in district play and finished the season with an 11-game wins streak before the Paris contest.