Greyhounds moving on to the region tournament for a second straight year after “C-Well” did his thing
IVAN K. RICE I firstname.lastname@example.org
PARIS, KY – With his team trailing 15-7 midway through the second quarter, Coach Shawn Ransom knew that his Greyhounds needed someone to get going, especially since the Montgomery County Indians were controlling the tempo of the game, while keeping the 10th Region famous “Mali and Kari” show in-check.
Following a nice pep talk from assistant coach Eric Thomas, an unsung hero would give the Greyhounds the spark they desperately needed to overtake the Indians.
Christian Blackwell, flying under the radar majority of the season, returned to the floor for the Hounds and the senior forward went to work right away. It would be the play of “C-Well” that jumpstarted the Greyhounds for the rest of the game. Ransom’s squad would go on to outscore Jon Bentley’s Indians 34-27 in the second half to win the one that counted the most after the two teams split their regular season games, by the final score of 57-49, eliminating the Indians from post season play for the second straight year.
Paris (17-12) will now play for the 40th District Championship tomorrow night where they will face defending 5-time district champion and the reigning KHSAA state champion George Rogers Clark (23-5), who took care of host Bourbon County 95-52 in the opener that saw the Cardinals shoot lights out from the field inside Russ Day Gymnasium.
“What about those Hounds? Let’s Go! I am extremely proud of our kids. They have bought in and they bring it every single day,” Ransom shared over his Facebook page following the game. “We have come so far in such a short amount of time.” The coach went on to thank the community and administration for having their back and to the kids and coaches for staying the course. “The Paris Greyhounds are region bound Hounds!”
Paris 57, Montgomery County 49
Malachi Ashford’s three gave Paris a 3-2 early lead. Montgomery used freshman Luke Fawns’ three-point play and driving layup to move ahead 7-3 as they kept control of the pace of the game.
Xyier Wray’s basket, surrounding around Breccan Decker’s short jumper, saw the Indians in front after the first eight minutes 9-5.
Decker’s old fashion three and running layup, pushed MoCo’s advantage out to 14-7 at the 4:07 mark of the second quarter. Paris, who entered the contest averaging a little over 67 points per outing, was struggling from the field until “C-Well” hit huge momentum building, top of the key back-to-back threes, to get his team going.
A free throw by Jakari Ransom, his first points of the night, and Ashford’s “Mali-ville” three pushed the Hounds in front 17-16. Blackwell’s put back made it 19-16 at the 2:48 mark of the quarter.
Montgomery County (18-13) finished the half outscoring the Greyhounds 6-4 but Paris managed to head into the locker room up one, 23-22.
Trey Carroll’s quick basket to start the third helped MoCo retake the lead at 24-23. That, however, shockingly, would be the Indians final lead of the evening.
The Hounds answered with a 9-2 run that was started by Wray’s three and ended on Blackwell’s stick back. Montgomery, behind the scoring of Decker, closed the gap to 34-31 with under two to go before Paris responded by ending the quarter scoring the final seven points that saw Jakari cap off the period with a long rainbow bank three that gave the Greyhounds a 41-31 lead.
Consecutive baskets from Montgomery’s Fawns closed the gap to 41-35 just two minutes in the final frame.
Kaden Frederick’s reverse layup and Ashford’s basket and one moved the Paris lead to 46-37 with 3:27 left in the contest. Dawson Gentry’s jumper got the Indians to within seven at 46-39 but from that point on, they would get no closer.
Elijah Webb’s basket and two free throws followed by a Frederick put back, saw the Hounds race out to their biggest advantage of the night at 52-39 with under two remaining.
Paris would then hold off the Indians down the stretch by making 9 of their final 10 free throw attempts to secure the eight point margin of victory.
Ashford led all scorers with 20 points despite his slow start. He also pulled down 4 rebounds and handed out 4 assists. Blackwell finished his nice evening with 12 points and a team-high 6 rebounds. Other soring saw Frederick with 8, Ransom 6, Wray 5, Webb 4 and Cordre Patterson had 2 points and 4 rebounds.
Decker paced MC with 15 points, while Fawns and Carroll tossed in 11 points each. Gentry finished with 9 and Alex Hatton rounded out their scoring with 3 points.
Paris will play GRC for the district title tomorrow night inside Bourbon County’s Russ Day Gym at 7:00.
ALL PARIS GAME PHOTOS TAKEN BY JENNIFER ARNETT I For The Citizen