Cinderella decided to break out her winter slippers this year.
Jekobi Wells hit a go-ahead shot with 3.5 seconds left to send Paris, the school with the lowest enrollment in the field, to the semifinals of the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic. The Greyhounds defeated Fayette County (Ga.), 61-60, on Wednesday after upsetting Henry Clay, 74-67, in the second round on Tuesday night.
Ryan Davis inbounded to Wells, who had shaken off a defender to get free on the baseline and scored a basket off the glass and over a Fayette County defender. A half-court heave as time expired didn’t draw iron for the Tigers.
Paris, whose 2015-16 enrollment of 203 students was the 41st lowest in the state, has knocked off schools with enrollments of 2,594 (North Gwinnett, Ga.), 2,388 (Henry Clay) and 1,322 (Fayette County) on back-to-back-to-back days. The Greyhounds will get the winner between Lexington Catholic (874 total students) and Clark County (1,652 students) at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Greyhounds finished the game on an 11-0 run, holding Fayette County scoreless over the final three minutes of action.
“Basically after halftime all we focused on was just playing defense,” Wells said. “We had to get stops cause we could score all we wanted to. We had to get stops cause, trading buckets, they would’ve just kept the lead.”
Noah Gurley, a Furman commit, led the Tigers with 17 points and eight rebounds. Paris prevailed despite a 30-21 advantage for Fayette County on the glass.
Eric Johnson led Paris with 20 points and went 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. Wells had 18 on 8 of 12 shooting. Dontez Myers came away with four steals for the winners.
Most of Paris’ team, which boasts seven seniors, has played together since grade school.
“We’re a nice group,” Wells said. “We know each others’ dos and don’ts.”
Paris 61, Fayette County (GA) 60
Paris (9-4) — Cunningham 3, Johnson 20, Wells 18, J. Davis 8, R. Davis 4, Myers 2.
Fayette County (11-3) — Nesmith 4, Holloway 9, Gurley 17, Young 15, Dupree 10, Brown 3, Smith 2.
Fayette County (Ga.)