The Paris Wildcats split their opening matches, while the Ladycats lost their opener as both squads began tournament action at separate venues Thursday.

The Ladycats fell to Midlothian Heritage, 2-0, in group play at the Highway 5 Invitational co-hosted by Anna and Melissa.  Although Heritage is in its first year of UIL competition, the fast-growing school has a strong senior class and is expected to be bumped up to Class 5A or even 6A at the next realignment.

The Paris girls (4-3-1) continue group play Friday with an 11:30 a.m. match vs. Anna, then have a long wait until their 7:30 p.m. game vs. Dumas.  Anna beat Dumas, 4-1, in group play on Thursday.  Finals will be held on Saturday.

The Paris boys (5-2-3) beat their recent playoff nemesis Kaufman, 1-0, in Thursday’s group opener at the Terrell Tournament.  Sophomore Kyler Beshirs scored the lone goal off a cross from senior Colin Harris.  The Lions had knocked the Cats out of the playoffs the past two seasons.

The Cats had a quick turnaround and had to face defending state champion and No. 1-ranked Palestine just 2 hours later.  They lost, 2-0, but coach Jeremy Beshirs was pleased with the effort.

“I felt we outplayed them in the first half but missed some good opportunities,” he said.  “We got tired in the second half.”

The match was scoreless at halftime.  Palestine scored twice in the second half, including a penalty kick off a handball in the box with 8 minutes left.

The Cats finish group play Friday with a 5:30 p.m. match vs. Midlothian Heritage, which also lost to Palestine Thursday by a score of 2-1.

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