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In a game reminiscent of longstanding Paris-Navarro rivalry, Dragons fall 63-60 in final seconds
 January 20, 2013



CORSICANA, Texas – Navarro had won 12 of its last 13 games and Paris had lost seven of its last nine, but Saturday night’s basketball game between the two schools was a flashback to their battles of the past.

Despite trailing for all but one second of the first half, Navarro’s Bulldogs prevailed 63-60 on Harrison Hawkins’ free throw with two seconds to play and Toney Foster’s tip-in of Harrison’s missed second shot.

Anthony Adams, who had a game-high 20 points, made two free throws to tie the game at 60 with 19.2 seconds to play. There were seven ties in the second half, and the lead changed hands five times.

With the win, Navarro improved to 16-4 overall and a Region 14 best record of 8-1 in conference. Paris fell to 9-11 overall and 3-6 in league play.

Hawkins led Navarro with 18 points. He was backed by Foster with 13 points and Princeton Onwas with 12 points. Adams was the only Dragon in double figures.

“It’s a tough one to lose, but at the end of the day we’re where we need to be. I think we’re turning the corner, and I’m so proud of these guys it’s unbelievable,” Paris coach Chuck Taylor said.

“I’ve been talking about Anthony Adams all year, and again tonight. He did it on Wednesday and again tonight.”

In other Region 14 junior conference games Saturday:

    Tyler overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to beat Trinity Valley 65-61,
    Kilgore beat Panola 71-53 to stay just one game behind Navarro,
    Blinn beat Jacksonville 53-52,
    Angelina opened up a two-game lead atop the South Zone with a 60-52 victory over Coastal Bend, and
    San Jacinto fought back from 10 points down at halftime to beat Lamar State-Port Arthur 80-78.

Paris grabbed an early 10-4 lead against Navarro and widened it to 19-9 with nine minutes left in the first half. The Bulldogs couldn’t seem to get a shot to fall.

But creating extra possessions with a huge rebounding edge – on both ends of the court – the Bulldogs outscored Paris 22-11 the last 11 minutes of the first half.

Jamar Goodwin had 9 rebounds for Navarro, followed by Terrance Syon with 8 and Onwas with 7.

Navarro’s first lead came at the halftime buzzer on Duan Wright’s 3-pointer that caromed off the backboard and into the net for a 31-30 lead. That was Wright’s only score.

In the opening minutes of the second half, Navarro regained its shooting eye, making its first four shots. All four were from 3-point range – two by Hawkins and two by Onwas.

Four shots, 12 points for Navarro in the first three minutes 15 seconds of the second half.

After Hawkins’ first 3-pointer, Delvin Dickerson scored from inside on consecutive trips down the court to give the Dragons a 34-34 tie.

Paris’ Sheldon Yearwood helped counter Onwas’ pair of outside shots by coming up with back-to-back scores off offensive rebounds. He made one-of-two free throws on the first rebound. The second rebound, he put back in to bring Paris back from 40-35 to 40-37.

Still, just five minutes into the second half, Paris found itself behind 47-38, and it appeared the Dragons’ excellent start might be all for nought.

But then Adams – a two-time Region 14 Player of the Week last season, and once already this season – took over.

The next two Paris possessions ended with the 5-8 Adams driving into the heart of the Navarro defense, stopping, jumping and launching jump shots that nestled softly into the net.

That started a 13-2 Paris run over less than five minutes that took the Dragons from nine points down to a 51-49 lead.

The last 10 minutes of the ball game, it was vintage Paris-Navarro basketball. There were seven ties and five lead changes the rest of the way.

Adams scored on back-to-back possessions to give the Dragons their last lead at 57-56 with 1:35 to play.

Hawkins answered with 15-footer to reclaim the lead for Navarro at 58-57 with 1:25 left on the clock. Then Foster was fouled by Dickerson and made both shots for a 60-57 lead with 52.2 seconds on the clock.

Mike Harmon’s 3-point attempt for Paris bounced away, but Antonio Arnold rebounded for the Dragons and was fouled with 22 seconds to play.

He made his first show, cutting the deficit to 60-58, but missed the second shot and Navarro grabbed the long rebound along the left base line.

But quickly, anguish gave way to ecstasy for Paris. Adams stole the ball, drove the baseline, shot and scored! There was a whistle, and Navarro was called for a foul.

But instead of a 60-60 tie and Adams shooting for the lead, a referee ruled that Adams was fouled before the shot. So Adams went to the line needing to make both free throws for the tie.

Adams made both free throws for the 60-60 tie, creating a climactic finish.

The 5-10 Hawkins, who spent much of the evening guarding Adams, and vice versa, stayed outside with the ball as the clock ticked toward zero, then drove toward the basket. There was contact, and Adams was called for a foul with two seconds left.

Hawkins made the first free throw for a 61-60 lead, then missed the second, but Foster went up and slapped the ball back in.

Taylor was yelling from the Paris bench that it was offensive interference, but the officials huddled and then declared it was a tip-in for a 3-point play and a 63-60 Navarro lead with 1.6 seconds left on the clock.

It was now going to take one of those miracle 78-footers to save Paris. That didn’t happen, but …

Adams took the in-bounds pass, and hurled the ball toward the basket. It was well short, but there appeared to be contact and Adams went down.

A small Paris contingent hoped for a whistle and Adams being sent to the free throw line for THREE free shots. Instead, the officials signaled that the game was over and began a mad dash to their dressing room.

For the game, Navarro ended up with eight 3-pointers to two for Paris.

Neither team shot well from the free throw lane. Paris made 18 of 29 (62.1 percent), and Navarro made 13 of 22 (59.1 percent).

“And I don’t blame anything on the refs, but wow, wow, wow, wow! What an ending,” Taylor said.

“Our guys played their butts off. I thought we played well enough to win but came up short. We have to get to the point that we know how to close these games out. And my hat’s off to Navarro; it’s hard to win here. Our guys played tremendous. It’s unfortunate we came up short,” Taylor said.

Paris’ second-leading rebounder, 6-8 Will Ransom, did not make the trip with the team. He was suspended for the game for an unspecified team rules violation.

Of the dozen Dragons who suited out for the game, 6-11 freshman center Lamar Walker was the only one who didn’t see action.

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