April Coursey drained a 3-pointer in the final minute of the third quarter Tuesday to bring the Paradise Lady Panthers within a basket of the Jacksboro Lady Tigers.
But after Coursey’s shot, the Lady Panthers managed only two field goals the rest of the way as Jacksboro ended the game on a 15-6 run in the 41-29 victory at Jacksboro High School.
“We couldn’t buy a bucket in the second half,” said Paradise coach Chad Woodard. “I went small to try to force some things. Jacksboro does a good job with their defensive intensity.”
Jacksboro wrapped up the second playoff seed out of District 8-3A with the win. Paradise will be the league’s third seed and will play District 7-3A’s runner-up Brock in the Region I bi-district round at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Azle.
“Brock is a good team with a lot of tradition, but our girls have built a tradition over the past few years,” Woodard said.
Paradise finished 10-4 in district despite replacing four starters from last year’s playoff team. The Lady Panthers started the season 7-6.
“It’s helped us that everyone’s doubting us,” Coursey said. “We played some hard teams at the beginning of the year and did really good.
“We’re not scared. All of us played [Brock] our freshman year. We’re ready for them.”
With Paradise struggling to generate offense in the second half, Jacksboro opened up an eight-point lead, 26-18, in the final two minutes of the third quarter.
After Maddie Mitschke hit a pair of free throws, Coursey hit her trey to cut the deficit to 26-23.
It appeared the score would stay there going into the fourth until Jacksboro freshman Baylee Thompson caught a long inbound pass from the sideline in the lane and scored a layup just before the buzzer to stretch the lead back to five.
“That was a big bucket right there,” Woodard said.
Thompson led all scorers with 18 points, including six in the fourth quarter. Her drive to the basket with 2:10 left stretched Jacksboro’s lead to 14.
“The freshman can play. She’s smooth around the basket and knows her role,” Woodard said.
Paradise was 2-for-10 from the field in the final frame. After Hunter Rogers’ shot with 6:10 left, the Lady Panthers didn’t hit another field goal until Hannah Beth Pearson’s trey in the final seconds.
“Nothing was going in,” said Coursey, who finished with six points.
Kaycee Martin led Paradise with eight.