KANSAS — The Tri County Titans were looking for redemption from their loss earlier in the year to the Paris Tigers — and took the title game down to the wire — before falling to the …
KANSAS — The Tri County Titans were looking for redemption from their loss earlier in the year to the Paris Tigers — and took the title game down to the wire — before falling to the visiting Tigers on their own floor 60-57.
Back on December 17, the Titans traveled to Paris to face the Tigers in a non-conference contest and dropped a 67-49 decision giving the Purple, Orange, and Blue a little extra motivation starting up their own tournament.
After both teams went 3-0 in their respective pools, the stage was set in Kansas for the anticipated rematch between two of the younger teams in the area with the Holiday Tournament title on the line. For the Tigers, it was the chance to repeat as the champions of the event once again while the Titans were trying to win their own tournament for the first time in quite some time.
After 32 minutes, the game lived up to the hype.
Both teams gave it everything they had in front of a standing room only crowd at Kansas High School with the fourth quarter being full of highs and lows of all kinds. In the end, a key free throw made by the Tigers was just enough to push Paris over the top to take a 60-57 win over Tri-County claiming the tournament crown for the second straight year.
The Titans seemed to have the game in hand at times, but Paris was able to focus over the course of a long four quarter, especially from the free throw line.
For the game, Paris didn’t shoot overly well from three-point land or the free throw line, but made up with it with numerous shot attempts, and strong positive attitude. “I’m just happy for the guys staying connected and being positive.” Mentioned Paris Head Coach Chase Brinkley. “It was a dog fight out there definitely, and I’ve said before, Coach Ferguson of Tri-County always has them ready. I told ours at half time we can’t be front runners, and be happy when up and dejected when we’re down.”
Paris had solid opening quarter and continually tried to get shots in the paint as they had the goal for all tournament. Tri County was ready, and altered or forced some poor shots throughout the game on the defensive end, especially early. Paris nonetheless slowly built their lead up throughout the half, with the Titans making enough baskets to stay within double digits.
Paris got scores from Logan Rhoads, Mason Hutchings and Jude Sullivan in the first
quarter, to go up 14-11, and continued to do so in the second with help from Coy Landrum and JR Brinkerhoff. Down 21-13, Tri County went on an 8-0 run, with threes on consecutive possessions from Bell and Pollock, and then temporarily gained the lead on scored layup, and then a stolen inbounds for another layup right after.
With Paris up 25-24 at half, both teams traded baskets in the third, with Garrett King notching half the points for the boys, and McClain and Lloyd doing most of the damage for Tri County. Down 35-33, Tri county went on another run featuring layups and made free throws from McClain, but neither team could wrestle control of the game from the other.
Garrett King knotted the game at 40, opening the fourth quarter with a three pointer, followed by some tough offensive rebounding putbacks by Conor Breneman. Similar to Saturday’s afternoon game, JR Brinkehoff took hold of the Paris offense soon after in the fourth quarter. With some assists from Hutchings in the full and half court, Brinkerhoff scored Paris’ next nine points off of primarily layups from the low post and drives from the high post.
Tri County meanwhile became three point happy without much success, allowing the Tiger run to go on. “JR just stayed aggressive and got to where he wanted. He made up his mind he was going to score on that first move, because with him there’s going to be that one first move, and he’ll go.”
With Paris up 55-47, Tri-County once again made their way back into the game thanks to some Paris turnovers. The Titans got a strip steal and free throws, which were countered by free throws from Paris. Tri County made it 58-55 on a three pointer with over a minute left. Tri County had fouls to give, and the Tigers got a split on free throws from King, and a pair from Hutchings. With less than ten seconds left, The Titans missed a long three that would have sent it to overtime, and giving Paris the tournament win.
Leading scorers for the Tigers were Hutchings with 13, Brinkerhoff with 12 and King with 10.
The Tigers were 21 of 61 overall for 34.4 percent and 14 of 28 from the free throw line for 50 percent. Mason Hutchings was named to the All-Tournament team.
The Titans were 22 of 49 overall for 44.9 percent and 9 of 14 from the charity stripe for 64.3 percent. Mitch Pollock, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, led all scorers with 22 points. Cole McClain had 13 points and Jack Armstrong added 10 points in the loss. McClain was also named to the All-Tournament team. The one hiccup for the Titans in the game was holding on to the basketball committing 17 turnovers.