The monkey remains on Paris’ back.
The Greyhounds notched just two points in the fourth quarter after holding a 41-29 lead and fell to Scott, 46-43 in the 10th Region semifinals, Tuesday at The Fieldhouse. The win sets up an all-37th District Final for the third time in four years between the Eagles and Campbell County.
Scott ratcheted up the defensive pressure, Paris missed free throws and layups and the stellar 3-point shooting of Trey Meister, Nelson Perrin and Kyren Simpson led Scott to the improbable comeback, outscoring Paris 17-2 in the fourth, creating some more Fieldhouse magic in what’s already been an epic 10th Region Tournament.
“Paris is very good. We are lucky, very, very lucky,” Eagles coach Steve Fromeyer said. “They play exactly the way we want to play. They are all in us defensively and rattle you. That’s what makes Paris so good, they take you out of your comfort zone. That’s a very good team and Terence (Brooks) has done an incredible job.”
The Eagles were stifled for the first 24 minutes, scoring just 29 points and shooting 36 percent from the field.
“At the end of the third, we were fighting, complaining back and forth because things weren’t going well. Paris was playing well and we were acting like teenage boys, punching chairs and things like that,” Fromeyer said. “So I told them to go out there and get a stop, guard somebody, get a rebound, finish layups instead of taking silly contested shots. Our shot selection wasn’t very good.”
Then the fourth started off with a Meister three.
Then countless opportunities the Greyhounds had to close the door on the contest kept going awry. A pair of missed free throws here, a missed uncontested layup there and suddenly the lead starting dwindling and dwindling and dwindling.
After a Perrin triple to get the Eagles within five, co-Region Player of the Year Eric Johnson missed the front end of a one-and-one while Perrin answered on the other end with 3:19 to play to make it a two-point game with his fourth 3-pointer of the night.
Then it was Simpson’s turn, a player who comes off the bench and who didn’t experience the Eagles postseason run last year as he transferred over from North College Hill in Cincinnati, knocking down a deep 3-pointer to give the Eagles their first lead of the game at 42-41 with 2:44 to play.
“I just have to come off the bench with energy. We got to face what we got to do to come out and play hard,” Simpson said. “Basketball is a game of runs, we all fight. Coach always tells us not to look at the score, so we just to keep on trusting each other and working. This is fun, I’ve been waiting to be here.”
Jalen Byars gave the Greyhounds their first and only points of the fourth on the ensuing possession with two free throws to make it 43-42 Greyhounds with 1:37 to play. Nathan Joyce answered with a layup just 14 seconds later to give the Eagles the advantage, this time for good. Marcus Ashford was fouled on a rebound attempt on the other end, but missed two free throws, a common theme for the Greyhounds in the contest as they went 2-for-7 from the line in the final frame and 3-for-9 in the game.
The Eagles corralled the rebound and were able to run 53 seconds off the clock before Simpson was fouled with 21 seconds remaining. Simpson would hit both.
“Kyren is a lightning bug man. He just provides a spark. He doesn’t lack any kind of confidence and is just all smiles all the time. That’s just what kind of kid he is,” Fromeyer said.
The Greyhounds would get one last chance.
They turned to Johnson, who converted the game-winning basket against Pendleton County in the opening round a few days ago, but Johnson’s two attempts at 3-pointers didn’t fall this time, ending the Greyhounds season in heartbreak fashion for the third straight year in the regional semifinals, having the Greyhounds pondering if they might be cursed.
“There’s no curse. You got to want it. It’s easy to talk about wanting it, it’s another thing to go do it. Unfortunately this has been our fate for the last three years. Again, our kids have to step up, this is for a chance to go to the championship and go to Rupp Arena. You got to step up for those moments and we didn’t,” Greyhounds coach Terence Brooks said.
The Greyhounds were led by Johnson with 11 points while Byars and Travis Strings each added 10. Paris will now have to lick their wounds and try to move on without six seniors, who depart from this year’s team.
Perrin led the Eagles with 13 points, hitting all four of his 3-point attempts. Simpson added 11 while Meister tossed in eight. Scott went 9-of-12 from the 3-point line in the contest.
The focus now shifts to Campbell County, a district rival they are far too familiar with. The two have already played twice this season, both Camel victories, once in the regular season and once in the 37th District Championship.
“We’ll see what happens. I don’t know. They are pretty good. You won’t get me to say much more on that,” Fromeyer said.
The two will face one another in the region final for the third time in the last four years.