After 15 years between All “A” Classic visits, Paris wasn’t about to have a one-and-done trip to Frankfort. The Greyhounds defeated Elliott County 67-58 in the first round of the unofficial small-school state tournament Thursday at the Frankfort Convention Center.
Senior Jekobi Wells led the Greyhounds with 26 points, four assists and three steals. Paris pushed its lead to 20 points following a 24-second spurt midway through the third quarter in which junior Eric Johnson connected on a three-pointer then got a steal and layup. Elliott County ratched up its defensive pressure thereafter but couldn’t get closer than the final margin in the final period.
“I think both teams got tired a little,” Paris Coach Terence Brooks said. “When we get tired like that, we tend to stand and settle for jump shots. One thing that we’ve done all year long is we’ve played with leads and we’ve given up leads, but we’ve always found a way for somebody to step up and make that big shot.”
Chase Porter (23) and Korbin Spencer (20) combined for 43 of Elliott County’s points.
Read more: Newport Central Catholic knocks off Cordia in All ‘A’ finals rematch
Russellville 63, East Ridge 52: The Panthers played at the Warriors’ pace for most of the game, but a crucial flurry to start the third period allowed Russellville to escape.
“We like to get up and down the floor,” Russellville Coach Phil Todd said. “We were kind of playing their ball game, right there. … You give a team that’s prepared and is keeping it close and hanging tough? Well, then you’re in a battle.”
East Ridge had a chance to take a lead into the half, but a foul on a half-court shot at the buzzer put Panthers leading scorer DeAndre Bradshaw at the line for three free throws. He converted them all for a 25-23 lead. Bradshaw finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Mayfield 85, Kentucky Country Day 73: The Guthrie brothers, Mayfield sophomores Connor and Carson, led the Cardinals with 25 and 21 points, respectively, as they outdueled the Bearcats’ Mathis brothers, Solomon and Anthony Jr., who scored 22 and 20.
Connor shot 10-for-13 from the field and Carson went 9-for-12, each with two three-pointers as Mayfield shot 63 percent from the field as a team despite the 8:30 a.m. first-round start for the 1st Region representative. The 7th Region’s Country Day could not keep pace, shooting just 41.7 percent.
University Heights 80, Fort Knox 56: KyKy Tandy scored 30 points for the Blazers, who survived a 15-0 run by the Eagles to pull them within three points with 3:30 left in the third quarter. UHA outscored Fort Knox 36-15 from that point.
The Blazers are playing in their record 21st All “A” Classic state tournament. They’ve won eight titles, more than any other school, but haven’t made the finals since 2008, when they won their most recent championship.
“Last year, losing to Cordia in the second round, we felt like we might’ve left one on the table,” Blazers Coach Grant Shouse said. “These guys all pretty much spent the rest of the year and the offseason determined to get back up here.”
Owensboro Catholic 58, Pineville 23: Jacob Mulcahy had a game-high 12 points in 15 minutes for the Aces. Trent LeFevers had eight piints and two blocks for the Mountain Lions.
All ‘A” Classic
At Frankfort Convention Center
Thursday’s first round
Mayfield 85, Kentucky Country Day 73
Russellville 63, East Ridge 52
Newport Central Catholic 65, Cordia 57
University Heights 80, Fort Knox 56
Owensboro Catholic 58, Pineville 23
Paris 67, Elliott County 58
Danville vs. Walton-Verona (n)
Lexington Christian vs. Louisville Holy Cross (n)
5 p.m.: Mayfield (16-5) vs. Russellville (14-7)
6:30 p.m.: Newport Central Catholic (12-7) vs. University Heights (11-10)
8 p.m.: Owensboro Catholic (14-7) vs. Paris (15-6)
9:30 p.m.: Danville-Walton-Verona winner vs. Lexington Christian-Louisville Holy Cross winner