The Paris girls basketball team cruised to a 71-44 shellacking over Mark Twain on the opening night of the 93rd Monroe City Basketball Invitational.

For one possession it looked like the Mark Twain girls basketball team was going to claw its way back into the game Monday night.

After hitting the first two of three free throws, Paige Eddington came up with the loose ball on her own missed free throw. The southpaw then tossed the ball to McKenzie Lathrom, who knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 5-point possession.

It pulled the Lady Tigers to within 30-21 with 1 minute, 53 seconds remaining in the first half.

But Paris scored the next six points to regain momentum and eventually cruised to a 71-44 shellacking on the opening night of the 93rd Monroe City Basketball Invitational.

“After a couple of bounces went their way, it was nice to see our girls be resilient there and finish the half with a nice stretch,” Paris coach Garrett Thomas said.

Lathrom would cap the half with a buzzer beater from 25 feet, but the second half belonged to Paris.

“We obviously did not come out with any intensity tonight,” Lady Tigers coach Alex Brandenburg said. “We were not ready to play and Paris just outworked us start to finish. They are a good team.”

Allison Moore stepped out and knocked down a trey from the right wing with 6:28 left in the third period. The shot extended the Lady Coyotes lead to 39-26 and the No. 4 seed never looked back.

Moore scored 12 of her game-high 19 points in the second half.

Paris used a strong inside-outside game to pull away from the Tigers.

The Lady Coyotes knocked down seven shots from behind the arc in the win.

Delaney Miller, who added 16 points in the win, connected on 4 of 6 shots from long distance.

“We knew they had some good shooters,” Brandenburg said of Paris. “They are a tough team. They have some nice post players and also a couple players who can shoot it from the outside.”

Paris also controlled the boards as they doubled up Mark Twain, 44-22, in rebounds.

“We want to crash the boards every time a shot goes up,” Thomas said. “We have a few girls who are not afraid to put their nose down and go in there every time. They see it as more of a pass than a shot. That’s where a lot of their points come from.”

Paris had 16 offensive boards for the game. Makayla Fox led Paris with a game-high 12 rebounds, with seven coming on the offensive glass.

“That just comes with hard work,” Brandenburg stated. “When you start working hard that (rebounding) is something that will start falling into place. Honestly we are going to keep working on that and find a way to get better.”

Lathrom (16) and Elizabeth Trower (12) paced the Lady Tigers with 28 combined points, while Eddington added 10 in the loss.

Tori Hamilton finished as the third Lady Coyote in double figure scoring with 12 points.

Paris (2-2) will face Monroe City Wednesday night in the first semifinal game at 7 p.m.

The game will be a rematch of Friday night’s thriller, which was won by the top-seeded Lady Panthers.

“It’s nice to come out here and get a win tonight after two straight losses,” Thomas said. “The girls are happy to be moving to the second round and have another shot at Monroe City.”

Mark Twain (1-3) will face Marion County in a consolation game Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m.