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GHS and PCHS burn down

the house in Brundidge

By STEVEN G. WATSON

Sports Editor

It’s beginning to be a habit for the Goshen Eagles to break the Pike County Bulldogs’ hearts.

For the third-straight time, the Eagles pulled out a nail-biter against PCHS. This time the final was a dramatic 52-49 victory for GHS and the three-point win was actually the largest margin of victory in the last three contests.

After watching both squads spill their guts out on the hardwood Friday it was easy to see why this has been such a competitive series over the last two years ­ pure heart.

"I couldn’t be more proud of my boys," Pike County head coach David Buehler said. "This is the best team effort we’ve had all season. I don’t care about the outcome or the score, every person that played out there tonight played 110 percent. I’m not upset at all because we played as hard as we possibly can. I can’t ask any more of my kids at all."

"It was a very competitive game and that’s what rivalries are all about," Goshen head coach Major Lane said after the game. "I was proud of our guys for stepping up and doing their job. They did a good job of shooting them down when we had to have them."

Goshen pushed out to an early 14-4 lead and scored the first four points of the third quarter to give PCHS a 14-point mountain at 30-16 to climb. The Bulldogs never faltered, however, scratching and clawing their way back into the game while Goshen did all the little things they had to just to hold them at bay.

Pike County kept on plugging and finally whittled away the lead to single digits on a circus shot under the basket by Shermondre Jackson that drew the foul. Jackson hit the free throw making it 39-32 Goshen with under six minutes left to play.

The two teams exchanged buckets after that until Goshen’s Kendaris Pelton found himself on an open breakaway for an easy basket only to be fouled from behind by a Pike County player. The referee called the intentional foul and Pelton looked to ice the game hitting his two free throws and taking the ball out on the penalty. The play was a big four-point swing in Goshen’s favor at a crucial time in the game.

Still PCHS continued to plug away at the lead. With under three minutes remaining the Bulldogs tore out a 5-0 run and with 55 seconds left took advantage of a technical foul called on Goshen.

After the foul shots and another clutch jumper by Jackson, the Bulldogs had cut the lead to only two at 49-47.

Pike County was forced to foul and Goshen made good when it counted most. Reggie Ginyard hit 1-of-2 to increase the lead to three, then, Tobias Johnson got his chance to tie the game after being fouled on a 3-point shot attempt.

Johnson hit the first, missed the second and hit the last drawing it to one. Pelton got the last say, however, as he was fouled immediately on the inbounds with only five ticks left on the clock. He iced the game with two foul shots ­ dead center.

Pike County’s Vinton Siler got a 3-pointer off at the buzzer for the Bulldogs, but it was off target giving the Eagles the victory.

"We knew that it was going to be a defensive battle because we were both struggling from the perimeter," Lane said. "We were fortunate to get some easy baskets off the layups and that helped us some. It was just a pretty low scoring game throughout from top to bottom.

"Coach Buehler and I when we got it together we knew it would be a very competitive thing and we wanted to try to keep that going," he continued. "They’ve got a good young squad and they’re going to get better and hopefully we’re going to get better as well."

"People in here thought it was going to be a blowout," Buehler said. "I thought if we kept it in control we really had a chance because we were playing hard, we were just missing a lot of easy shots.

"These guys really played like a team tonight," Buehler said of the Bulldogs. "They were down 14 and 15 points and they could have given up so easily, but they never did. And for us to have had a chance to win it at the end, that’s great."

Pelton rattled off 13 points in the contest with Willie Darby following close behind with 10. Jackson led the Bulldogs with a team-high 15 while Johnson and Sam Diggs finished with 14 and nine respectively.

In the girls’ game the Pike County Lady Bulldogs were able to oust their Goshen counterparts 50-36 in a game that was never really close.

PCHS jumped out to a 14-0 lead right off the bat with Wennica Foster scoring 12 of her 15 points in the first quarter.

The Lady Eagles were able to cut the lead to 11 points late in the game, but the Lady Bulldogs were to much as used pressure defense to force numerous GHS turnovers which they converted into easy baskets.

Kayla Ellis paced the Goshen girls with a game-high 18 points while Pike County’s Andrea Bailey and Bridget Barrow had 10 and eight respectively.

In the B-team game, Pike County also pulled out the victory 34-26 over a streaky shooting Goshen team.

The Eagles shot eight-straight 3-pointers to start the second half, but hit only one as the Bulldogs held off a late surge for the win. Nick Walker led the home-standing Bulldogs with 14 while Armond Johnson had 10 and Chris Nickson notched nine. D. Pelton had 11 to pace the Eagles.

Next up for Goshen will be a home game against Montgomery Academy on Tuesday as the Bulldogs will travel to Daleville on Monday in their first Area game of the year.