Paris enters as a team not many are talking about to make it to Rupp.
Their play lately states otherwise.
The Greyhounds enter the 10th Region tournament hot, winners in 11 of their last 12, the lone loss coming to George Rogers Clark, a 59-56 overtime defeat in the 40th District Championship.
The key? Defense.
Paris has been hounding the ball, giving up just 50.6 points per game in their recent hot streak.
“It’s our defense. They’ve bought into playing defense first and really communicating on the floor and trying to control the defensive backboard,” Greyhounds coach Terence Brooks said.
Part of the hot streak has been a win against first round opponent Pendleton County, 63-52 back on February 15. The Greyhounds took the strategy of letting Wildcats star Dontaie Allen get his as he poured in 43 points and limiting the role players to just nine.
“Allen is a special player, but he’s got a lot of special players around him. We have to be consistent on defense, we can’t go into the game to try and stop him, we’re not going to stop him. We have to try and slow him down and slow everybody else down,” Brooks said. “They want to play uptempo, we want to play uptempo. We’ve got to rebound on the defensive end, communicate and execute on offense.”
Another key in the late season success has been the return of point guard Marcus Ashford to 100 percent.
“He’s back to 100 percent. Now it’s just getting the mental part of the game back. I tell Marcus all the time he needs to be an extension of me on the floor. He needs to be my coach on the floor,” Brooks said. “If he plays and stays out of foul trouble, that’s been his Achilles heel this year, he reaches a lot and not disciplined all the time on defense. We keep him out of foul trouble, then he is our coach on the floor and that’s what we expect of him.”
Ashford brings an added dimension to 10th Region Co-Player of the Year Eric Johnson, along with Travis Strings. Johnson leads the Hounds with 19.1 points a night, also pulling down a team-high 5.8 rebounds a game. Strings adds 11.4 points a game.
“With our seven or eight player rotation we have, all those kids are healthy and we’re going to try and put three games together and make this run,” Brooks said.
Taleigh Adams, Jalen Byars, Jamaun Clark and Aaron Maggard round out the rest of the rotation in majority of contests.
“Our seniors are starting to step up. Our underclassmen and inexperienced kids are starting to realize this is the end of the season. We don’t want our season to end,” Brooks said. “Its taken us a while to get to this point and now that we’re to this point I like the way that we’re playing.”
The Greyhounds and Wildcats have the makings to be the best first round matchup. Each team features the Regional Co-Player of the Year, both teams like to push the tempo, but in the end, the Greyhounds are hoping their defense wills them to victory.
Paris and Pendleton tip Thursday at 6 p.m.
DATE; OPPONENT; SITE; RESULT
Nov 28; Franklin County; away; (W) 73-63
Dec 2; Nelson County; home; (W) 80-58; Kentucky Bank Classic
Dec 5; Montgomery County; home; (W) 76-58
Dec 8; Bourbon County; away; (W) 69-53; Kentucky Bank Shootout
Dec 12; Campbell County; home; (L) 86-59
Dec 15; George Rogers Clark; away; (L) 71-64
Dec 16; Henry Clay; home; (L) 58-53
Dec 19; Bracken County; away; (W) 68-44
Dec 21; Nicholas County; home; (W) 74-55
Dec 28; Menifee County; at Bath County; (W) 76-68; CSI Classic
Dec 29; Estill County; at Bath County; (W) 57-53 (OT); CSI Classic
Dec 30; East Carter; at Bath County; (W) 56-47; CSI Classic (championship)
Jan 3; George Rogers Clark; home; (L) 59-52
Jan 6; Bracken County; at Nicholas County; (W) 63-36; 10th Region All “A” Classic
Jan 11; Bishop Brossart; at Nicholas County; (W) 54-49; 10th Region All “A” Classic
Jan 18; Robertson County; at Nicholas County; (L) 59-57; 10th Region All “A” Classic (championship)
Jan 19; Bryan Station; away; (L) 68-47
Jan 23; Mason County; home; (W) 56-49
Jan 27; Model; home; (W) 72-34; Bluegrass Conference Challenge
Jan 27; Nicholas County; home; (W) 74-47; Bluegrass Conference Challenge (championship)
Jan 30; Paul Laurence Dunbar; home; (W) 52-51
Feb 2; Montgomery County; away; (W) 73-56
Feb 3; Bourbon County; home; (W) 59-49
Feb 7; Harrison County; away; (W) 81-69
Feb 10; Lawrence County; away; (W) 56-44
Feb 15; Pendleton County; home; (W) 63-52
Feb 16; Tates Creek; away; (W) 71-47
Feb 20; Montgomery County; away; (W) 60-51; 40th District Tournament
Feb 22; George Rogers Clark; at Montgomery County; (L) 59-56 (OT); 40th District Championship
Mar 1; Pendleton County; at Mason County; 6:00 PM 10th Region Tournament
NO.; NAME; POSITION; HEIGHT; GRADE
1; Tyreeq Nebbitt; 5-6; G; Jr.
2; Travis Strings; 5-10; G; Jr.
3; Jamaun Clark; 5-7; G; So.
4; Aaron Maggard; 5-10; F; Sr.
5; Jalen Byars; 6-5; F; Jr.
11; Eric Johnson; 5-10; G; Sr.
12; Ricqiece Washington; 5-7; G; Fr.
13; Marcus Ashford; 5-9; G; Sr.
15; Taleigh Adams; 6-2; F; Sr.
20; Caleb Johnson; 5-9; G; So.
32; Jarod O’Bryan; 5-10; F; Sr.
33; Ben O’Bryan; 5-10; F; Sr.
Head Coach: Terence Brooks
Assistants: Tyson Jones, Marcus Ashford, Kyle Campbell
Athletic Director: Cary Barr
Trainer: Sarah Beatty
Scorekeeper, Stats, Team Historian: Eugene “Puck” Puckett
POINTS FOR: 1,851
POINTS ALLOWED: 1,593
POINTS PER GAME: 63.8
POINTS ALLOWED PER GAME: 54.9
FIELD GOAL %: 45.4
3-POINT %: 31.0
FREE THROW %: 62.6
REBOUNDS PER GAME: 30.6