Paris snatches nail-biting victory over Unity Rockets

By Dan Dundas dandundas82@gmail.com
Posted 1/13/20

The Paris boys looked to start off their 2020 year in top fashion and did so with a big comeback from behind fourth quarter victory over the visiting Tolono Unity Rockets Jan. 4, by the score of …

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Paris snatches nail-biting victory over Unity Rockets

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The Paris boys looked to start off their 2020 year in top fashion and did so with a big comeback from behind fourth quarter victory over the visiting Tolono Unity Rockets Jan. 4, by the score of 49-47.

“It shows we don’t quit and we can finish,” said head coach Chase Brinkley. “I’m proud of our execution, and that was a real fun game and it’s even better when the crowd is in it and helps us along.”

Coy Landrum got the start for the Tigers, and his energy was infectious right away. He forced a jump ball, and a lunging out-of-bounds save eventualy ended up in the hands of Jude Sullivan for an opening three.

“Coy played some big minutes because he plays very hard and he simply gets things done on both ends,” Brinkley said. “It shows that hard work pays off.”

Both teams exchanged some missed shots but Tolono came back with free throws. Paris got quick baskets from a nice back cut from Landrum and Sullivan drove a layup to go up 8-7, with over two minutes left. Zack Farnham bumped the lead to 11-7 with an inbounds three, before Unity tied it at the quarter.

The Tigers didn’t score well in the second quarter. Garrett King had a steal for a layup. Thanks to some turnovers from the Tigers, Tolono had a 13-2 run spanning from late in the first to three minutes left in the second, putting Tolono up 25-16 at the half.

“We turned the ball over in the second quarter and got sloppy and it hurt us, and got passive,” said Brinkley. “We wanted to spread the floor out on offense in the second half and that helped us get back into the game”

The Tigers were unable to dent Tolono’s lead in the third. Landrum got Paris some baskets early, followed by a nice pick and roll between Mason Hutchings and JR Brinkerhoff, and a fast break steal from Hutchings. Tolono Unity countered with a three pointer and two floaters from the baseline.

Tolono held the ball purposefully for the last minute of the quarter, and the Tigers were up to the task defensively, forcing a five-second possession rule and drawing cheers from the crowd at the 10-second mark.

Down 23-35, Paris got burst of offense to get back into the game starting the final quarter. Preston Porter drained three, followed by a Dustin Creech jump hook and another Farnham three, on near consecutive possessions. Unity then went on a 6-0 run, to make it 41-31 in their favor with over three minutes left.

Sullivan took over the late quarter, getting a three-point foul play, then hitting a big three pointer at the 1:20 mark to make it 43-38 Tolono with 1:20 left.

Paris began using fouls while Unity was in one and one bonus, and King took advantage, scoring a layup down court off a missed free throw. The Rockets made another set of free throws, but Sullivan nailed a deep three yet again to cut the score to 45-43 with 40 seconds left.

The crowd continued supporting the home team by making plenty of noise as Tolono missed two double-bonus free throws, but got the offensive rebound. The Rockets were fouled and split their next two attempts.

Down 46-43, Paris pushed the ball down court, where Sullivan attempted a three that missed, but Landrum scooped it up to cut it to 46-45 with 23 seconds on the clock.

Unity missed an attempt, and Hutchings found King in the corner for a three pointer to finally take the lead 48-47. Tolono had a poor possession with 10 seconds left on the clock, and Hutchings stole the ball off a trap. He split his free throws with one second left, and Tolono missed a final heave.

The leading Tiger scorers were Jude Sullivan with 15, Coy Landrum with 8 and Garrett King with 7.

Paris hosts South Vermillion on Tuesday, Jan. 7.