Paris defeats Cumberland 54-45

The Paris Tigers rematch with the Cumberland Pirates Tuesday night went the same as their first meeting during the Kansas Holiday Tournament, this time with a 54-45 Tiger victory.

Due to the snow days of the past week, Paris had only been able to fit in two days of practice since last Tuesday.

“It’s important to get reps everyday shooting and running what we want to do. Our guys came out prepared and played like it,” said Coach Shawn Nugent.

Cumberland looked exactly the same as they did in December, sometimes flipping shots toward the rim and missing some easy looks around the basket. Paris took advantage of this to give themselves a 19-7 lead after one period.

Once the 5:00 mark hit, Paris started running a very crisp offense that culminated in buckets from all parts of the floor, ranging from the basket, the elbows, and the three point line. All in all, six Tigers cracked the score sheet in the quarter. Even atypical three point shooters Brody Spencer and Tyler Blue got in on the act, scoring the team’s first 6 points from beyond the arc.

After a Cam Elmore three opened the second quarter scoring, the Paris offense hit a speed bump, in the form of missed threes and forced turnovers, and only converted one more three-point shot the entire quarter. Cumberland slowly but surely crawled back into the game with two three pointers and some free throws. By the 3:10 mark, Cumberland had nudged the score to 22-19. A Connor Polk three gave the Tigers some breathing room, and they then proceeded to hold the ball for the last minute of the half, leading at the break 25-19.

Cumberland’s offensive explosion came in the third quarter. As Paris struggled to get the shots they wanted against Cumberland’s zone, the Pirates proceeded to light up the scoreboard from long distance, with two three pointers between the 6:00 and 3:00 mark.

Cumberland however rang up their first three fouls by the 5:30 mark of the period, and the Tigers would take advantage of this as the game progressed. The Pirates celebrated after every made bucket closed the scoring gap until the score was tied 31-31.

The momentum on the floor definitely swung in the Pirates direction. But with less than two minutes remaining, the Pirates extended their lead to 37-31.

In his post-game interview, Nugent mentioned he did not choose to call a timeout at that point. “I didn’t plan on calling anything until the quarter ended,” he said. “I felt our guys needed to play through it at that point.” The Tigers took advantage of this confidence as Cam Elmore buried a 3 pointer as the horn expired, giving Paris plenty of momentum only down 37-35, heading into the 4th quarter.

The Tigers immediately went back inside to Jeff Martin to begin the 4th quarter. The passing lanes that were closed on the Tigers earlier in the game opened just enough to give Martin three field goals in the quarter, and more importantly, open up the Pirate zone defense.

Nugent stayed with the lineup of Chris Johnson, Cam Elmore, Connor Polk, Marcus Switzer, and Jeff Martin for almost the entire quarter. Cumberland’s outside shooting went cold in the quarter, and they proceeded to convert a few off balance drives to the basket for their modest quarter scoring.

The Pirate foul trouble hit a breaking point, as they reached the bonus halfway through the quarter, and the double bonus shortly after. A Cam Elmore three made it 48-45 with 2:10 left, and the Tigers proceeded to ice the game from the free throw line for the final.

Tiger leaders included Jeff Martin had with 14 points, Cal Elmore 13 and Tyler Blue, Chris Johnson and Connor Polk split with 5 each. 

The Prairie Press

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