By Jeremy Jacob, Sports Editor
Parisian girls “annoy” in 34-31 overtime win over Marion County
Opening night jitters felt Paris early in Friday’s home game against Marion County, but the Lady Coyotes were cool on the track.
After going into overtime in a tie with 30, Paris defeated reigning district champions Marion County 34-31 thanks to a game-winning steal from freshman Emma Ashenfelter and a crucial basket from Reese Sutton. Ashenfelter snagged six rebounds and swiped four steals to lead a stubborn defensive effort by the Lady Coyotes (1-0), backed by a double-double by 19-point 12-rebound newcomer Sutton and 10 rebounds by elder Rachel Shoemyer.
The game was roughly even all night, with Paris and Marion County (0-1) each rebounding or even throwing the ball wide as two players committed to the board with equal effort. The Lady Coyotes aren’t the best shooters, head coach Garrett Thomas said, but Ashenfelter and his girls did a great job of winning the game by making Marion County uncomfortable putting the ball forward.
“Emma did really well at being annoying,” Thomas said. “That’s a really good word for her, it’s annoying. She’s doing well in the fast lane. She gets up, she is aggressive and she has no rest. If you keep putting pressure on the ball, things will go right every now and then. It really gave them seizures sometimes.”
In four quarters and one overtime, Paris had seven field goals all night and relied on his trips to the free-throw line to earn his points. The Lady Coyotes went 20-to-38 on free throws, driving to the edge and tempting Marion County to penalize with minutes left in each half.
If Paris really needed to score from the field, they could convert, usually after forcing a turnover. Marion County’s Kennedy Hathaway hit a 3-pointer to help the Lady Mustangs build an 11-6 lead in the second quarter. The Lady Coyotes completed the half strongly to take a 12-11 break lead after Kennedy Ashenfelter received the pass from her sister Emma — in contrast to the exchanges that occur between pitcher Kennedy and catcher Emma during softball season.
“It’s very important for us to reach the free-throw line so far this year,” said Thomas. “We’re not great shooters, but we usually shoot pretty well from the free-throw line. We try to get the ball in play as much as possible. If we can get it in there, they usually like to collapse and that causes them to foul up a bit more.”
The Paris boys are more effective indoors in the 43-31 win over Marion County
The Paris boys’ offensive felt locked out at home in the opener against Marion County early Friday night but eventually managed to secure a crucial win.
The Coyotes beat Marion County 11-4 in the third quarter and 22-15 in the second half to win 43-31. They matched half of their overall wins from a year ago, this time taking their first win two months earlier. Eight Coyotes pulled down a rebound each, with Walter Rucker leading the way with 12 rebounds as part of his 16-point double-double. Colton Poddany followed with eight rebounds along with his six points, the 6-foot-7 Alex Williams had five boards with eight points, and point guard Evan Smothers had three rebounds on his stat line of seven points, four assists and three steals.
Early in the game, head coach Jeremy Skinner said the Coyotes were excited, maybe a little too excited, as they committed several turnovers to allow Marion County to go 9-4 with about two minutes remaining in the first quarter. Three turnovers in as many trips and five this early in the game had Paris flipping the switch, or maybe the screen.
“We made a small change on offense – screen versus mail players,” Skinner said. “That got us some simple buckets. Our distance wasn’t very good, we tried to force it too fast and we had post players who positioned themselves on top of each other with no space. Everyone ran after the ball instead of keeping space.”
Bucket after bucket to Williams and Poddany and then Ryan Breid on an inbound pass to Smothers gave Paris a 14-9 lead with six minutes remaining in the second quarter. Rucker galloped three baskets across the floor late in the first half and finished with eight points after two quarters.
The Coyotes extended their lead in the third quarter, keeping the Mustangs without points until their leading 11-point scorer, Porter Britt, converted in the last two minutes, but it was 32-20 Paris after three quarters. Positioning himself in front of an incoming pass, Smothers put himself in the bucket in the final seconds of the quarter, demonstrating what Skinner believes Paris did so well on the defensive end.
“Starting the third quarter was all about our defense,” Skinner said. “We just communicated. We turned on the screens, made sure to hit the screens and stopped following them to the basket. We got between them and the basket whenever they cut. Without their penetration, they will struggle to score if you don’t follow the screens. They’re a good 3-point shooting team, so you can negate that as long as you stay on them.”
Mayfield strong in signing with MACC Softball
A year ago, Mexico’s senior pitcher Eboni Mayfield wasn’t playing softball.
Mayfield will play the game at the next level after signing with NJCAA Moberly Area Community College, which added the sport last fall and lives in Region 16. The Lady Bulldog elder signed her letter of intent in a ceremony Friday at the Mexico Sports Complex.
Mayfield did not play her junior year but returned as the team’s No. 1 pitcher that season and appeared in an all-district season, posting a 2.74 ERA, a 14-4 record, 55 strikeouts and 22 walks pitched in 89⅓ innings.
Mayfield said she plans to focus on surgical engineering and is looking forward to playing for Greyhounds and two of her travel teammates who had already signed, Boonville’s Emma West and Moberly’s Madyson Klostermann. Centralia’s Abby Reed and Paris’ Gracie Hatton are also among the players who have chosen MACC.
“The coaches are really nice,” Mayfield said. “They’re a good team overall, they have the degree I want to study and I’m not too far from home.”
Head coach Curt Riley began the program this year, saying Mayfield’s year was “a little slow” early in the season, but she became someone Mexico could rely on and keep the Lady Bulldogs in the game for offense to develop could collect. The Lady Bulldogs had their best record (19-13) in three years and their lowest runs-versus-average (5.1 runs per game) in as many seasons.
“When you take a year off, it’s often difficult to get back into the flow,” Riley said. “She started getting a lot stronger and pitched a lot of great softballs for us this fall. She deserves it. She did the things we needed from her to keep us at ball games.
For the full stories, see the November 23, 2022 issue of the Mexico Ledger and the same date on the website.
Allen from Community R-6 takes mound at William Woods
Community R-6 Senior Gavin Allen will be taking his strikeout stuff to the woods.
In a letter of intent Thursday at Community R-6 High School in Laddonia, Allen made it official that he will promote NAIA William Woods University in Fulton. The Owls play in the American Midwest Conference and are coming off a 30-18 season — their first 30-win season since 2018.
In two spring seasons and one fall season, Allen has hit 163 batters in 95⅔ innings, with another season coming up in the spring. On the record, he has a .377 batting average and has 40 career hits, four of which are home runs.
Allen credits those around him, including his coaches, with helping him earn an opportunity to play college baseball. He is looking forward to the new friends he will make at William Woods.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting my teammates and continuing to improve and hopefully help our team win in the future,” said Allen. “I want to thank my family, friends and all my coaches. Without her, I wouldn’t have had the chance to play college ball.”
Gavin has been a great addition to the R6 baseball program and we look forward to seeing his future,” said head coach Joel Krato.