PJC men headed back to national tourney

From Staff Reports

March 11, 2008 - PARIS - Paris Junior College men's basketball team is headed back to the NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, Ks. on March 18-22 looking for its second national title in the past three seasons.

The Dragons won the crown back in 2005 and have secured three consecutive Region XIV conference titles.

The second-seeded Dragons (28-5,) defeated No. 5 seed Navarro 50-49 in a last-minute comeback at Masters Gymnasium on the campus of KilgoreCollege on Monday to continue their season behind 16 points from Region XIV Tournament's Most Valuable Player Eric Tramiel. He also had seven rebounds, one block and one assist.

Raymond Sims nailed two free throws with six seconds remaining to give the Dragons their first and only lead in the championship contest.

Navarro held a 19-18 lead after the first half of play as Paris outscored the Bulldogs, 32-30, in the second half to take the win.

Sims and Charles Punches also scored in double figures for the Dragons with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Punches had seven rebounds, while Sims pulled down five in the game.

Paris shot 20-of-53 (37.7 percent) from the field, compared to 17-of-57 (29.8 percent) for Navarro.

"We are so very proud of Coach (Ross) Hodge and the young men on the PJC basketball team," said PJC President Dr. Pam Anglin. "These young men represented Paris Junior College and the city of Paris in a way that everyone can be proud of. Thanks to these young men for giving us something to unite over and cheer about.

"To see a gym in Kilgore filled with Paris Junior College students, faculty and staff and many residents of Paris, cheering in unison throughout the game and watching this team win a trip to the national championship tournament was a night that will go down in the history books for PJC."

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