The Buccaneers won their 17th consecutive game to improve to 26-1 overall and 13-0 in the region.

Blinn’s latest victory required a third-quarter surge after the short-handed Dragons trimmed an 18-point first-half deficit down to 43-40 early in the third period. With just five of its players making the trip Wednesday, Paris gave the Bucs fits with a deliberate pick-and-roll offense, but Blinn eventually adapted before going on a game-clinching run.

“We needed to hold each other accountable, help each other, and help out on the post because that’s really what was hurting us,” Blinn sophomore guard Skylar Barnes said. “Once we got things locked down defensively, we pulled it together and got going.”

(Pictured: Blinn College sophomore guard Skylar Barnes, 20, moves to the basket for a layup during a game against Paris Junior College on Feb. 22)

After a Paris 3-pointer made it a three-point game, sophomore guard Crystal Smith and Barnes responded with back-to-back 3s of their own. The two teams then exchanged back-and-forth buckets before Blinn took control with an eight-point burst. Ahead just seven, sophomore guard Hannah Humphrey sank a trey, freshman guard Amyria Walker connected from long distance, and Barnes dropped in a layup to give the hosts a 63-48 advantage.

Barnes hit a 3 and a pull-up jumper near the end of the third period to complete the Bucs’ 27-point outburst and give her team a 68-51 lead heading into the fourth.

“We gave up 19 points in that third quarter but as a coach, you don’t just want to outscore people, you also want to get some defensive stops and make things a little easier on your offense,” Jenkins said. “When you coach 18 to 20 year olds, they’re not going to play the perfect game every time out. But I still thought we played great and we played hard, and we’ll learn from our mistakes.”

Blinn led 23-16 after the first quarter and 41-32 at the half.

Barnes and sophomore guard Allana Thompson each had a team-high 14 points. Humphrey finished with 12 points, sophomore forward Tiffany Tullis had 11, and Smith tallied 10. 

The Bucs hit the road for a region road trip to Angelina College at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25, in Lufkin, Texas.

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987.

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