The best season in school history came down to two shots for the Paris girls in the 3A State Tournament semifinals Tuesday at Charleston.
eStem’s Sandra Mooney made an off-balance jumper for her only points of the game to push eStem ahead by two with three seconds left, then the Lady Eagles’ attempt at a winning 3-pointer hit the rim and bounced out.
A day after winning a thriller in the quarterfinals, Paris (29-7) was eliminated in the semis in a 56-54 heartbreaker.
“It was was a good game,” Paris coach Toby Tevebaugh said. “They made a few more plays than us.”
In a bit of surprise, Tevebaugh called for 6-0 freshman Lycia Peevy to shoot the last shot. Peevy was left open for a good 3 but didn’t get it to go down.
“She doesn’t shoot it a lot, but she can hit that shot,” Tevebaugh said. “I figured they wouldn’t be expecting it and wouldn’t guard her out there. We got the shot we wanted and she got a real good look at it, but it just didn’t go. That’s the way it goes.”
Peevy led Paris with 20 points and sophomore Morgan Highfield had 16 the Eagles.
Highfield had the hot hand early, hitting three 3-pointers and getting all 16 of her points in the first half as Paris surged out to a lead that got as big as 30-17 midway through the second quarter.
eStem (29-6) got back in the game with a run before halftime and cut the lead to 30-24.
The fourth quarter began 38-38 and while Peevy scored inside several times for Paris, eStem — a charter school in Little Rock — answered with 3-pointers to move ahead.
In the final seconds, Paris guarded eStem’s best shooters well but Mooney got one of her only shots of the game – an off-balance wobbler from 12 feet – to go down with seconds left.
“I’m thinking about the things we did wrong, but we had a great year,” Tevebaugh said. “This team really came together and played their best when we had to at the end of the year.
Paris’ lone senior, Christa Huber, had 11 points to wrap up an outstanding career leading the Eagles to their only two state tournament appearances.
“Christa is one of those special players that you know you will look back at the end of your career and smile,” Tevebaugh said. “She is a great competitor and great young lady.”
3A State Tournament
Game 1: Riverview 60, Centerpoint 39
Game 3: Harding Academy 44, Fordyce 18
Game 5: Rivercrest 56, Mansfield 50 (OT)
Game 7: Paris 47, Manila 36
Game 9: Valley Springs 47, West Fork 30
Game 11: Melbourne 53, Danville 47
Game 13: eStem 55, McGehee 38
Game 15: Jessieville 63, Genoa Central 47
Game 17: Riverview 59, Valley Springs 58 (OT)
Game 19: Harding Academy 55, Melbourne 35
Game 21: eStem 58, Rivercrest 53
Game 23: Paris 51, Jessieville 49
Semifinal: Harding Academy 50, Riverview 47
Semifinal: eStem 56, Paris 54
Friday or Saturday
At Summit Arena, Hot Springs
Harding Academy vs. eStem, TBA