Paradise High School senior, grandfather honored

A lifelong passion goes beyond a love for a breed of cattle. It’s also a love for unforgettable friends and a family that stretches across the United States.

Reagan Taylor and Wayne Baber. Submitted photo

Paradise High School senior Reagan Taylor, 18, and her grandfather, Wayne Baber, 67, were recently honored by the Texas Limousin Association. Taylor was named TLA’s Outstanding Junior Member of the Year and Baber was recognized for his years of service as a former association president and as its current treasurer.

TLA, the state organization for the Limousin breed, was founded in 1971 and is one of the largest state beef cattle breed organizations in the nation. Its members’ herds account for about 20 percent of the total Limousin cattle in the United States.

“I’ve always been interested,” Taylor said. “My grandfather has raised Limousin cattle all my life and he’s the one who got me into it.”

Taylor, who has had Limousin cattle since she was 8 years old, is currently serving as vice president of the Texas Junior Limousin Association. As a member she goes to TLA shows as well as other shows through FFA – including the Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio stock shows.

While she loves showing her heifer, her true love is the people in the TLA.

“Our organization is not just an organization to me, it’s a family – a second family,” Taylor said. “I’ve grown up with all these people and see kids younger than me growing up and that is my favorite part – going to see my second family.”

She said she has made connections she hopes to keep for the rest of her life.

“I met my best friend there, which all started when her heifer stepped on her big toe. I will always remember that,” Taylor said. “I have people now that I will be lifelong friends with and who I will never forget. Going to these shows every year is what I look forward to, so I can see them.

“At our national shows, people from all over the United States come and it’s really fun to see them come from Tennessee and North Dakota.”

After she graduates in the spring, she plans on attending West Texas A&M. She currently has a 3.4 GPA, which she jokes would be awesome anywhere else.

“No, I’m not going to be in the top 10. I’m in one of the smartest classes ever to go through Paradise. It’s very competitive,” Taylor said. “I am in the top half. My little sister has the same GPA and she’s No. 13.”

She smiles and admits moving to Paradise was one of the best things to ever happen to her. She moved there from Azle her sophomore year and has been a member of the Paradise FFA ever since.

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Basketball: Paradise holds off Boyd

The Paradise Lady Panthers kept the Boyd Lady Yellowjackets at arms length for most of the night as their lead fluctuated between six and 10 points on their way to a 53-42 win.

TAKING AIM – Amber French from Paradise tries to shoot over a Boyd defender in the Lady Panthers’ 53-42 win over Boyd. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

Boyd’s best run of the night was capped off by Lindsey Thorpe’s third-quarter, 3-point play to tie the game.

The Lady Panthers responded immediately after Thorpe’s made free throw with six consecutive points in three trips to regain a six-point lead.

The Lady Panthers then turned on the full-court pressure to put Boyd away.

“It wasn’t that we got steals and easy baskets,” Paradise coach Kevin Pope said. “But we forced some travels and some balls to be thrown out of bounds. They’re big and they’re strong, they’re a good basketball team. If we had tried to duke it out with them in a half-court basketball game, we wouldn’t be successful. We couldn’t let them grind us down.”

Paradise wrapped up second place in District 9-3A behind Bowie, while Boyd is still vying with Jacksboro to decide third and fourth place. Both are headed to the postseason and are better prepared for it after Friday, according to Pope.

“The main thing is: the game helped both of those teams prepare for the playoffs,” he said. “It was two good teams with a playoff atmosphere and it was exciting. Games like that help teams.”

He added that the Paradise and Boyd wins of 30 and 40 points didn’t do either group much good as far as preparation is concerned.

Courtney Kerr and Kaylee McConnell led Paradise with 14 points each. Jett Preather and Shelby Bradshaw each scored nine.

Kenzie Elkins paced Boyd with 17 points and Thorpe finished with 16 that included eight in the fourth quarter.


Paradise … 18 … 10 … 8 … … 17 – 53
Boyd … 10 … 11 … 9 … … 12 – 42

Paradise (25-6, 11-2) – Jett Preather 9, Kaylee McConnell 14, Aliyah Read 2, Courtney Kerr 14, Emily Corbin 2, Shelby Bradshaw 9, Amber French 3.

Boyd (8-5) – Karlin Kinsey 2, Abbey Harrell 3, Lindsey Thorpe 16, Sophia Scott 2, Kenzie Elkins 17, Alissa Gordon 2.

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Basketball: Panthers keep playoff hopes alive

It went down to the final minute in Paradise Friday night.

In an electric atmosphere with the sound of the home team’s drum line and screaming fans engaged in every movement, turnover, steal and shot, the Paradise Panthers held off the Boyd Yellowjackets 48-44.

DRIVING FOR TWO – Paradise’s Spencer Forsyth lays it in against Boyd’s Aaron Hammett in the Panthers’ 48-44 win over the Yellowjackets. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

And for the moment, the Panthers kept their playoffs hopes in 9-3A alive, ending a three-game skid. The Panthers, with a win over Henrietta Tuesday, could move into driver’s seat for the league’s fourth playoff seed.

Early, it didn’t appear there would be any drama Friday. Paradise held Boyd to three points in the opening frame and took an 11-point lead.

Paradise’s Cash Preather had a six-point first quarter to lead his team.

But the Yellowjackets’ backcourt duo of Trace Moran and Trey Gordon combined to score 16 of Boyd’s 18 second-quarter points to reduce the Panthers’ lead to 24-21 at the half.

Both teams struggled offensively coming out of the break. Despite Caiden Berry’s five-point effort in the third, Boyd continued to narrow the lead.

The teams entered the fourth quarter with the Panthers holding a two-point edge.

The scoring ramped up in the fourth quarter as the teams answered each other with made baskets.

With three minutes to go, Dalton Lyon hit a monster 3-pointer to put Boyd up by a point. Preather responded with a two to regain the lead for Paradise.

Ultimately, it came down to late-game execution and the Yellowjackets couldn’t find their rhythm. After defensive stops and getting valuable rebounds, missed opportunities and wasted trips hurt Boyd.

The Yellowjackets failed to get a single shot attempt up in three consecutive trips while it was still a one-possession game.

The Yellowjackets were forced to foul after the turnovers, and the Panthers’ Landry Norwood, Berry, Patrick Dorado and Hayden Barkley made nine fourth-quarter free throws to close out the narrow Paradise win.

Berry played a major role in sealing the deal with his nine second-half points. He finished with 13.

Preather scored 10 points and Landry Norwood eight.

Boyd’s Moran led all scorers with 16, while Gordon came away with 12 points despite being in foul trouble for much of the game.


Paradise … 14 … 10 … 7 … … 17 – 48
Boyd … 3 … 18 … 8 … … 15 – 44

Paradise (18-11, 5-6) – Cash Preather 10, Landry Norwood 8, Spencer Forsuth 2, Skylar Black 2, Brayden Ford 5, John Bridgeman 1, Patrick Dorado 2, Hayden Barkley 5, Caiden Berry 13.

Boyd (12-14, 3-8) – Trace Moran 16, Aaron Hammett 2, Dalton Lyon 6, Dylan Powers 2, Brandon Hardee 2, Trey Gordon 12, Judd Smith 2, Reece Jordan 2.

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Local students graduate UNT

The following students from Wise County received degrees at the University of North Texas’ fall 2014 commencement ceremonies.

  • Boyd – Brandon James Anderson, Bachelor of Science in criminal justice
  • Decatur – Aaron Michael Renaud, Bachelor of Arts in English; Austin Jefferson Anderson, Bachelor of Arts in international studies; Brooke A. Joiner, Bachelor of Science in kinesiology; Claribel Trejo, Bachelor of Arts in international studies; Daniel Kyle Walker, Bachelor of Arts in English; Elizabeth Joy Hatter, Bachelor of Arts in English; Erika Angela Olson, Bachelor of Arts in history; John David Curry, Bachelor of Science in integrative studies; Kimberly Lynn James-Kelly, Master of Science in behavior analysis; Nathaniel Reid Smith, Bachelor of Science in geography; Raymond C. McMillian, Bachelor of Arts in psychology; Sara Kathryn Blankenship, Master of Arts in journalism
  • Paradise – Erica D. Jones, Bachelor of Science in integrative studies
  • Rhome – Corey Shannon Bomar, Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art; Kathy Ann Ryan, Bachelor of Arts in psychology; Thomas Wayne Bryan, Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting
  • Runaway Bay – Natasha M. Randolph, Bachelor of Science in speech-language pathology/audiology

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Local students named to UNT dean’s list

The following University of North Texas students from Wise County were named to the dean’s list for the 2014 fall semester.

  • Aurora – Christian Joshua McCormack
  • Boyd – Brandon James Anderson, Ashley Pearl Montgomery
  • Chico – Angela Michelle Price
  • Decatur – Elizabeth Joy Hatter, Howard Jack Ille Jr., Brooke A. Joiner, Tiffany Kristin Lara, Samuel J. McGregor, Raymond C. McMillian, Zara Reanna Pearson, Ricardo Samano, Raye E. Stewart, Catalina Torres, Brianna M. White, Renae J. White
  • Newark – Michael Scott Cushman, Ruth Ann Alexis Edwards, Nathaniel Christopher Getty, Lindsey Hope Robinson
  • Paradise – Crystal D. Morris-Stromberg, Bailey N Roberts
  • Runaway Bay – Marcela Garza

To receive the honor, undergraduates must complete at least 12 academic hours with a grade point average of 3.5 to 3.9.

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Local students named to UNT president’s list

The following University of North Texas students from Wise County were named to the president’s list for the 2014 fall semester.

  • Boyd – Kaitlin Denise Solis, Marley B. Wright
  • Decatur – Ciara Lee Gibson, Jared M. Retamal, Jodie Renae Ross
  • Newark – Sarah Whitney Hickmon, Jennifer Michaela Smith
  • Paradise – Stephen C. Daneshjou, Wacy Ross Lusk
  • Rhome – Kathy Ann Lea, Kathy Ann Ledford, Benjamin Sterling Mazurek, Rebekah Jean Schrunk

To receive the honor, undergraduates must complete at least 12 academic hours with a 4.0 grade point average.

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Basketball: Holliday trips Panthers

The Paradise Panthers suffered a third straight setback in District 9-3A Tuesday, falling to Holliday 51-35.

The Panthers fell to 4-6 in the league but remain in the hunt for the fourth playoff spot. They would likely need to win out, however, starting with Friday’s game against rival Boyd. Paradise will meet Henrietta, who is currently in fourth, Tuesday. The Panthers beat Henrietta 49-46 Jan. 16.

Landry Norwood paced Paradise against Holliday with 13 points. Cash Preather and Caiden Berry added six points each. Brayden Ford and Hayden Barkley had three.


The Boyd Yellowjackets ended their six-game skid in 9-3A Tuesday with a 69-38 win over City View.

Boyd moved to 3-7 in district before a showdown with rival Paradise Tuesday. The Yellowjackets take on district leader Nocona Tuesday.

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Basketball: Paradise rebounds with win

The Paradise Lady Panthers returned to their winning ways Tuesday, thumping Holliday 57-30.

The playoff-bound Lady Panthers moved to 10-2 in District 9-3A. The Lady Panthers look to clinch second place in the league Friday against rival Boyd. Paradise closes the regular season at Henrietta Tuesday.

Guard Kaylee McConnell led a balanced scoring attack for the Lady Panthers Tuesday with 13 points. Shelby Bradshaw added 10. Courtney Kerr finished with nine. April Coursey and Taylor Richards had seven apiece.


Kenzie Elkins led a trio of Boyd Lady Yellowjackets in double figures Tuesday in a 61-18 crushing of City View.

Elkins scored 16 points, hitting a pair of 3-pointers. She had 11 points in the second half.

Abbey Harrell knocked down three treys and finished with 13 points. Lindsey Thorpe chipped in 10.

Boyd (23-5) stayed in a tie for third in 9-3A with Jacksboro at 8-4. The Lady Yellowjackets played Paradise Friday and will close out the regular season Tuesday at home against Nocona.

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Space-themed goat, owner repeat as champions

It may not have been on the catwalk, but Paradise Junior FFA member Lauren Moon and her floppy-eared Nubian dairy goat, Sady, acted as supermodels, wowing the judges at the Fort Worth Stock Show for a second year in a row.

Moon and Sady defended their title as grand champion for most creative goat costume.

Big Winner

BIG WINNER – Paradise Junior FFA member Lauren Moon recently won grand champion for most creative goat costume at the Fort Worth Stock Show for the second time. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

This year the fifth grader transformed Sady into the Millennium Falcon starship of “Star Wars” fame, while she herself dressed as Princess Leia – complete with her hair in double buns.

Last year the goat was an F-14 fighter from “Top Gun.”

MOVIE MINDED – Moon’s goat Sady is dressed as the Millennium Falcon from “Star Wars” at this year’s Fort Worth Stock Show. Submitted photo

“I watch a lot of movies,” Moon joked, as she quoted Darth Vader. “‘Luke, I am your father.'”

She enjoys mysteries, too. Her favorite movie is “The Way Way Back” – but her favorite “Star Wars” movie is “Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.”

Compared to last year, dressing Sady up as one of the most famous ships in the galaxy was a bit of a challenge. She and her mother had to put in extra effort to get the details right.

“The first time didn’t take that long,” she said. “It only took like an hour-and-a-half. This one took like two-and-a-half hours for four days.”

To keep Sady in line and in character, Moon said she had to do a lot of sweet-talking.

“You have to walk them a lot, and brush them and clip their hooves and feed them,” Moon said. “We like to walk at least an hour-and-a-half each day.”

Even then, there were technical problems. While Han Solo had to contend with numerous malfunctions, Moon had only one – keeping the ship upright.

Despite her best efforts, the ship built around Sady kept tilting. But the mishap turned to good fortune as Moon decided it gave Sady the appearance of flying and banking as a ship would.

The judge must have agreed. Moon and Sady showed against dozens of other well-dressed competitors, whose themes included TV’s “Sons of Anarchy,” “Scooby Doo” and “Frozen,” just to name a few. There was even a goat dressed as a Chick-Fil-A cow.

The Wise County Youth Fair doesn’t have a goat costume category, but fans of Sady and Moon can still see them show at the upcoming event.

It’s well worth a re-run.

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Basketball: Bowie staves off Paradise rally

The Paradise Lady Panthers overcame a rough start and dug out of an early 12-point hole – but they couldn’t recover from a forgettable start to the fourth quarter.

GOING UP STRONG – Paradise’s Jett Preather takes the ball to the basket Friday during the Lady Panthers’ loss to Bowie. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Paradise turned the ball over five times in the first two minutes of the final frame. Bowie took advantage of the miscues, getting to the free-throw line and stretching its lead back to seven with a 6-0 run. The Lady Jackrabbits then held on for the 42-35 victory at the Paradise High School gym.

“We played a bad first five minutes and then we had another three-minute stretch there in the fourth,” said Paradise coach Kevin Pope. “We played bad about eight minutes and you can’t do that when you play good teams.”

“When you look at the mistakes we made, we could’ve won if we eliminated those mistakes.”

Paradise finished with 25 turnovers.

Bowie remained unbeaten in District 9-3A at 11-0 and took a two-game lead over 9-2 Paradise in the district standings.

“This was a big win. Paradise is a great team and we knew they would play us tough,” said Bowie coach Colby Davis.

Paradise can still take the second playoff seed out of 9-3A by winning out.

“This was a great game to get us ready for the playoffs,” said Paradise senior guard Courtney Kerr. “It was definitely a playoff atmosphere.”

Bowie led 31-30 going into the fourth quarter. The Lady Jackrabbits kept Paradise at bay in the final frame without hitting a field goal. Bowie scored all 11 of its points in the fourth at the free-throw line, going 11-for-12.

“That was huge. If you are going to win big road games, you have to hit big free throws down the stretch,” Davis said. “I told the girls in the fourth quarter it would be a game of free throws and to go up there confident and knock them down.”

Courtney Brady went 4-for-4 in the fourth quarter at the line and 9-for-10 from the game en route to 13 points.

After falling down 37-30 with 6:25 left, Paradise went on a 5-0 run, pulling within two, 37-35, on Jett Preather’s 15-footer with 2:50 remaining.

Brady then knocked down a pair of free throws to extend Bowie’s lead back to four. Paradise never scored again, committing its final two turnovers in the final minute.

Bowie opened the game on a 12-2 run over the first five minutes and led 16-6 after the first quarter. Paradise turned the ball over 10 times and went 2-for-9 from the field in the opening quarter.

“They have an interesting press and we were not thinking on our feet quick enough,” Kerr said.

With a 9-0 run in the middle of the second quarter, Paradise pulled within one, 19-18, on a pair of free throws from Kaylee McConnell.

Bowie led 21-19 at halftime.

Preather, who finished with eight points, tied the game at 21 with a putback a minute into the second half. Paradise never took the lead as Bowie went back in front by five. Kerr’s basket and Amber French’s free throws to end the third got Paradise within one for the last time.

Kerr and French finished with six points each.

Bowie center Jordan Brightwell had 10 points with seven rebounds.

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Basketball: Bowie holds off Paradise

After trailing by 13 in the game and 11 midway through the fourth quarter, the Paradise Panthers suddenly found themselves down just four points with 2:36 remaining after Cash Preather’s layup.

But the Panthers couldn’t get any closer as Bowie kept them at arms-length with clutch free throws down the stretch. Bowie took the 53-45 win at Paradise High School gym.

“We got so far behind early,” said Paradise coach Cody Chandler. “We had it back within four but couldn’t make that one basket or defensive stop.”

The loss was the second straight for the Panthers as they fell to 4-5 in District 9-3A. But Paradise, who had won four in a row before the two losses to the league leaders – Nocona and Bowie – remains in the playoff hunt with five games left.

“There’s no one [game] we have to win,” Chandler said. “Holliday Tuesday won’t determine if we make the playoffs. But it could make a tremendous difference. The last five games will be huge.”

Paradise struggled to hit shots and keep Bowie off the boards early. Bowie took advantage of second-chance points to take an 11-7 lead after the first quarter.

“Out of their first 11 points, nine had to do with an offensive rebound,” Chandler said. “Nine points changed the whole end of the game.”

The Jackrabbits’ advantage grew to 13, 24-11, with 2:48 left in the first half. Bowie led 27-17 at halftime with Paradise going 6-for-16 from the field.

“We got off to a slow start and did not come with enough energy,” said Paradise guard Landry Norwood. “The second half we were ready to go.”

Norwood sparked a 9-4 run to close the third quarter to get Paradise within six, 38-32. Norwood was one of three Panthers to score 10. Caiden Berry and Hayden Barkley added 10 each.

Bowie went back up 11 on Jeffrey Howard’s bucket with 4:23 left. Howard led all scorers with 21 points.

Paradise went on a 7-0 run with a pair of Preather layups around Patrick Durado’s 3-pointer to get within four, 45-41. Preather could have cut the deficit to three but missed his free throw.

Bowie hit eight free throws in the final two minutes to sew up the win.

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Powerlifting: Paradise girls capture title at Jacksboro

The Paradise Lady Panthers edged the Graham Lady Blues 33-32 to win the Jacksboro Invitational Powerlifting Meet Saturday.

The Lady Panthers’ Kyndall McCasland won the 105-pound weight class by totaling 485 pounds.

Teammate Kyah Shannon was right behind McCasland, finishing second with a total of 415.

Makenzie Thomas won the 165 division for the Lady Panthers with a 395.

The Alvord girls also had a few standout performances in Jacksboro.

Natalie Hoffsis tallied a total score of 595 to win the 181 class, and Laura Yzaguirre won the 198 division with a total of 540.

In the 220-plus division, Alvord’s Haley Roberds came in second with a total of 730.

The Alvord girls team finished third with 19 points.

The Wise County boys teams had a rougher day at the Jacksboro Invitational.

Despite some strong individual performances, no Wise County school finished in the top four.

Paradise faired the best with a fifth-place team finish, led by Tanner Edwards who won the 275 class by lifting 1,330.

Chico finished in sixth, Decatur 10th, and Alvord 11th.

The Bridgeport finished sixth in Santo.

Dillon McAlister with 1,030 came in second in the 165 class. Roger Mastin took third with 985.

Keaton Vawter finished third among super heavyweights, lifting 1,085.

The Bridgeport girls finished eighth with Sarah Alexander and Allison Price finishing second in their respective weight classes.

In the 105 division, Alexander squatted 130 pounds, bench pressed 65 pounds and had a deadlift of 170 pounds.

Price squatted 210 pounds, benched 105 pounds and pulled 280 on deadlift in the 123 class.


105: 1. Kyndall McCasland, Paradise, 485; 2. Kyah Shannon, Paradise, 415

114: 3. Carressa McCasland, Paradise, 560; 5. Makenna Wise, Paradise, 465

123: 3. Kyndale Young, Paradise, 235

132: 2. Mikeala Beck, Paradise, 675; 4. Kailyn Carwile, Paradise, 585; 7. Dessie Putnam, Alvord, 185

165: 1. Makenzie Thomas, Paradise, 395

181: 1. Natalie Hofsiss, Alvord, 595

198: 1. Lauren Yzaguirre, Alvord, 540

220+: 2. Haley Roberds, Alvord, 730


132: 5. Kalyb Connor, Paradise, 835; 7. Braden Gonzales, Alvord, 695; 8. Cody Putnam, Alvord, 595

148: 2. Darian Sotomi, Paradise, 1045; 3. Crese Redman, Chico, 1035; 5. Grayson Cobb, Paradise, 1010; 10. Justin Taylor, Decatur, 760; 11. Alex Langley, Alvord, 635

165: 7. Marcus Thomas, Decatur, 865; 9. William Kurnes, Chico, 735; 10. Allan Allsbrooks, Decatur, 660; 11. Noah Elliott, Decatur, 615; 12. Dakota Barney, Decatur, 575

181: 9. Alex Nieto, Decatur, 300

198: 2. Taylor Hood, Chico, 1075; 6. Channing Hamilton, Paradise, 945; 7. Damon Lewis, Decatur, 935; 8. Kyle Barnett, Decatur, 910; 9. Kevin White, Decatur, 870; 11. Jake Kemp, Decatur, 815; 12. Hector Zaragosa, Chico, 490

220: 4. Cody Holaway, Decatur, 1030; 5. Blake Martin, Alvord, 1025; 7. Cody Armstrong, Chico, 985

242: 3. Deric Conner, Paradise, 1235; 6. JD Brown, Chico, 970; John Salazar, Chico, 925

275: 1. Tanner Edwards, Paradise, 1330; 6. Tyler Yzaguirre, Alvord, 865; 7. Johnathan Fawley, Decatur, 700


97: 7. Alicia Mendez, 370

105: 2. Sarah Alexander, 365

114: 4. Hayley Davidson, 540; 8. Jennifer Martinez, 420

123: 2. Allison Price, 595

165: 6. Sidni Ortiz, 550


148: 9. Casey Riggs, 775; 11. Nakoda Mastin, 740; 13. Regi Lane, 710; 14. Brian Munn, 680; 18. Jett Reynolds, 570

165: 2. Dillon McAlister, 1030; 3. Roger Mastin, 985; 13. Lane Morrow, 780; 15. Nick Anderson, 710

181: 17. Jacob Slimp, 810

220: 9. Alex Winter, 815

242: 4. Tyler Jennings, 1245; 5. Chance Pierce, 1190; 11. Blake Boyd, 965; 13. Haden Snodgrass, 945; 16. Hunter Coleman, 755

275: 6. Nate Ramirez, 965; 7. Eric Stonecheck, 885

SHW: 3. Keaton Vawter, 1085; 7. Caleb Jennings, 860

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Paradise resident graduates HPU

Corgan Mitchell Andrews of Paradise was one of 76 graduates to receive a degree from Howard Payne University in Brownwood at the university’s Commencement held at the close of the fall 2014 semester.

Andrews graduated with a Bachelor of Science in exercise and sport science (physical education).

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Basketball: Indians top Paradise

The Nocona Indians snapped the Paradise Panthers’ four-game winning streak in District 9-3A Tuesday.

The league-leading Indians took down the Panthers 58-47.

Nocona improved to 7-1. Paradise fell to 4-4, fifth place in the district.

Paradise looked to rebound at home Friday against Bowie, who moved into second place with a win Tuesday. The Panthers face third-place Holliday on Tuesday.


The Boyd Yellowjackets couldn’t rally past Henrietta Tuesday, falling 58-56.

The loss was the fifth straight for the Yellowjackets, who fell to 2-6 in 9-3A.

Henrietta took control of the fourth playoff spot in the district with the win, moving to 5-3.

Boyd hoped to end its skid Friday at Jacksboro.

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Basketball: Lady Panthers stay hot

The Paradise Lady Panthers rolled into their showdown Friday for the District 9-3A lead by hammering Nocona on Tuesday 76-51.

Seniors Kaylee McConnell and Courtney Kerr turned in big games against the Lady Indians. McConnell finished with 20 points. Kerr had 19. Shelby Bradshaw chipped in nine and Madi Horne eight.

Paradise went to 9-1 in 9-3A with the win. It squared off against league leader Bowie (10-0) Friday. Paradise hits the road to Holliday Tuesday.


The Boyd Lady Yellowjackets kept their hold on third place in District 9-3A with a 38-30 win over Henrietta Tuesday.

Boyd improved to 7-3 in the league before a big game Friday with the league’s fourth-place team Jacksboro.

Lindsey Thorpe led Boyd against Henrietta with 10 points. Alissa Gordon added nine points. Kenzie Elkins had eight and Abbey Harrell six.

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Logan Samuel Perez

Maria and Samuel Perez of Paradise announce the birth of a son, Logan Samuel Perez, on Jan. 27, 2015, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

He weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces and was 19 1/2 inches long.

He has two sisters: Anna, 7 and Ruby, 5.

Grandparents are Maria and Francisco Lizalde.

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Freida Ruth Turpin

Freida Ruth Turpin

Freida Ruth Turpin, 87, died Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, at her home in Paradise.

Viewing is 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 2, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Decatur Ward in Decatur, with the funeral at 11 and graveside service to follow.

After the burial, a dinner will be held for all at the Relief Society room at the Decatur Ward.

Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport is handling the arrangements.

Born Frieda Ruth Francis in Webber Falls, Okla., March 10, 1927, she was known to family and close friends as Ruth. Beautiful both in appearance and spirit, with the loveliest of voices, she was cherished and admired by all who knew her. She married Clifford “Buck” Turpin Nov. 5, 1944, and they had four loving children.

Buck preceded her in death Sept. 13, 2001. She was also preceded in death by her parents, Oliver Jewel Francis and Laura Viola Francis; sister Ellen Holder; and brother Richard Francis.

She is survived by her children: Sharon J. Tipton, Dan K. Turpin, Linda K. Turpin-Williams and Cliff W. Turpin; grandchildren Wayne Tipton, Bryan Tipton, Mirenda Lowery, Katy Aberbach and Chase Turpin. She was a “double-great-grandmother” with many great- and great-great grandchildren.

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Basketball: Stepping to forefront

Basketball: Stepping to forefront

For three years, Courtney Kerr took a backseat to the Paradise Lady Panthers’ duo of Makenna Burt and Makala Neighbors.

“They were it – the little guard that could shoot and the big post that could score,” Kerr said. “I could shrink back and play my role.”

Rising to Occasion

RISING TO THE OCCASION – As a senior, Paradise’s Courtney Kerr is scoring a team-high 12.1 points per game, helping the Lady Panthers to a 22-5 mark with a chance to claim a share of the District 9-3A title. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

But in preparing for her senior year, Kerr knew that was not an option.

“As a senior, I needed to step up and be a leader,” Kerr acknowledged.

Kerr and the Lady Panthers have thrived with her in the new leadership role that she’s shared with fellow seniors Jett Preather and Kaylee McConnell. Paradise entered Tuesday’s game at 22-5 and 8-1 in District 9-3A. Friday, they meet Bowie with a chance to pull even atop the district.

“It’s been great,” Kerr said. “No one thought we’d be good this year.”

Kerr entered action this week averaging a team-high 12.1 points per game. She’s been in double figures in 22 of the Lady Panthers’ 27 games.

In the biggest of games and moments this season, Kerr has been at her best. She tossed in 14 against Bowie, helping to lead a comeback that eventually fell short. In a tight game against Boyd, Kerr hit the free throws at the end of the game to ice the win.

“I thrive on pressure,” Kerr said. “A lot of people shrink down. But I’m ready to step up to win the tough game.”

Paradise coach Kevin Pope has been impressed with growth of his guard and her increased confidence to take and make the big shot.

“She has confidence in her ability and that’s because she’s put in the hard work,” Pope said.

With McConnell’s ability to drive the lane and Preather’s work inside, the Lady Panthers have looked to Kerr to provide scoring on the perimeter. Kerr knows her 3-point shooting opens up the game for her teammates.

“Shooting 3s makes them have to come out,” Kerr said about opposing defenses.

“I feel as a team we are creating more shots. My teammates are opening it more for me to shoot, especially from the corners.”

Pope added that since Christmas his entire team has improved on moving the ball to find the open person on the perimeter.

While her play on the floor has played a major role in the Lady Panthers’ strong run, Pope has been impressed with Kerr’s demeanor at practice and willingness to help younger players in the program.

“She and all our seniors have done a good job of mentoring our younger kids,” Pope said.

To Kerr, it’s important to help the younger players improve and provide encouragement.

“I remember when I was younger and not very good, I was so excited when the older kids told me I did something good,” Kerr said. “It makes the team better also when everyone is smiling.”

Kerr signed with Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls before the season. With her college plans intact, she said it’s helped her this season.

“I can just relax and play my game,” Kerr said.

And her game now takes a backseat to no one.

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Basketball: Panthers win 4 straight

The Paradise Panthers’ 0-3 start to District 9-3A is a distant memory now.

Friday, the Panthers beat City View 51-39 for their fourth straight win. The Panthers moved into a tie for fourth place in 9-3A with Henrietta at 4-3 at the end of the first half of league play.

“We’ve really played well,” said Paradise coach Cody Chandler about the recent streak. “We’re coming together at the right time and the kids are buying in to what we’re trying to do. We’re also getting a lot of production from a lot of different guys.”

After a narrow loss to Nocona in the 9-3A opener followed by setbacks against Bowie and Holliday – the top three teams in the district – Chandler tried to keep his team upbeat.

“I kept telling them the first three games in district couldn’t determine how you finish and if you make the playoffs,” Chandler recalled. “It’s how you respond. If you get the next four, you’ll be in the playoff hunt. That’s what they did.”

Paradise rattled off wins over Boyd, Henrietta, Jacksboro and City View to move up the 9-3A ranks.

Now, the Panthers get another shot at those three teams they lost to at the start of district, beginning with Tuesday’s game at Nocona.

“We’re looking forward to the second half of district,” Chandler said. “If we get any of those games [we lost in the first half] we’ll be in a good position.”

The Panthers continued a common theme during their recent win streak Friday with balanced scoring. Hayden Barkley led the team with 12. Landry Norwood added 10. Caiden Berry chipped in eight and Cash Preather and Brayden Ford had seven each.

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Basketball: Lady Panthers take shot at 9-3A lead

The Paradise Lady Panthers long to add a district basketball title to the list on their gym wall.

“We want to be first in district so bad,” said Paradise senior Courtney Kerr.

But to get to the top, they must knock off District 9-3A leader Bowie Friday at the Paradise High School gym.

The Lady Panthers suffered their lone district setback Jan. 6 at Bowie 57-46. Bowie used a 17-1 run in the first half to take control of the game, then held off a late Paradise run.

While not looking past Tuesday’s game at Nocona, Paradise coach Kevin Pope said his Lady Panthers will need a solid game Friday. He said this time, his squad will be ready for Bowie’s press.

“We know what they are going to do,” Pope said. “We broke down in a couple of instances against them last time and got down too much to make a comeback.”


Kerr led the Lady Panthers with 14 points in the previous meeting.

Since the loss to Bowie, the Lady Panthers have won five straight to move to 22-5 on the season and 8-1 in 9-3A.

The Lady Panthers rolled past City View Friday 79-27. Kerr led three Lady Panthers in double figures with 17 points. April Coursey added 14 and Kaylee McConnell 10.

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