Eagles drop first region game to Red Level, 79-75

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 4, 2000

Sports Writer

Frank Tolbert scored 22 points as the Red Level High School Tigers came from behind to shock the number four ranked Goshen Eagles 79-75 in overtime in an important Class 2A Area 2 basketball game at Eagle Gym Tuesday night.

With the loss, the Eagles fell at home for the first time this season and currently stand at 7-2 overall. But more importantly, Goshen dropped to 2-1 in area play while Red Level takes over sole possession of first place with a 2-0 record and a 10-3 mark on the season.

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The Eagles got out to a good start by jumping out to a 39-29 lead at the intermission. However, much like the Northview game, the Tigers forced the Eagles into a half court game by being able to contain Goshen’s fast break and scored on several second shots to take a 63-57 lead with two minutes remaining in the game.

Goshen rallied by scoring the next eight points over the next 1:10 to take a 65-63 lead with 50 seconds remaining in the game. Following a turnover by Red Level, the Eagles appeared to have the game under control until a loose ball foul was called against Goshen with 7 seconds remaining. The Tigers took advantage by sinking two free throws to tie the score at 65-65 sending the game into overtime.

The Eagles scored the first two points of the extra frame but never saw the light of day afterwards. The Tigers converted on a pair of Goshen turnovers for easy baskets for a 6-0 run to give Red Level the lead for good.

Goshen head coach Major Lane said the Eagles broke down in several areas in the second half. Lane said not using the bench enough also came back to haunt the Eagles.

"We weren’t concentrating the way we should playing good defense," Lane said. "We’ve got to go back to basics. I thought we didn’t rest our front court players enough even though we substituted a lot. I’m gonna have to substitute more liberally because our inside guys are getting worn down and other people are hitting too many second shots. We are taking too many difficult shots and other teams are getting easy shots. We’ve got to have better effort. I think we were prepared and ready to play, but we struggled offensively (in the second half). We’ve got to go back to working on boxing out and rebounding."

Other areas that hurt the Eagles against Red Level were fast break conversions and free throw shooting. Lane said the Eagles missed several layup opportunities on fast break chances. In addition, Goshen hit just 11 of 26 from the free throw line compared to 13-of-14 for the Tigers.

"We can’t shoot 40 percent from the free throw line and miss layups against good teams," Lane said.

With the loss to Red Level, the Eagles will have to immediately regroup with area games going coming up tonight at Georgiana and Friday versus Highland Home before the end of the week.

Despite the frustrating setback, Lane said the Eagles can still win the regular season area championship if they can take care of business with five games remaining in the five team area.

"I still feel like we can win the area on the road," Lane said. "This will determine what kind of courage we have and how this season will be remembered. The next five or six games will tell what type of team we’ll have. If we struggle, it’s good to do it now instead of around area tournament time (in February)."

Three other players finished the game in double figures for the Tigers. Jamie Wright and Anthony Ryce each had 18 points while Shawn Jackson finished with 16 points. Jamar Tucker led the Eagles with 22 points while Averick Rogers had 16 points and Kendaris Pelton chipped in 15 points in a losing cause.

Red Level (girls) 52 Goshen 47: Like the boys team, the Goshen girls dropped a heartbreaking 52-47 loss to the Lady Tigers in an important Class Area 2 contest.

The Lady Eagles trailed by 18 points midway through the second at 27-9 before putting on a furious rally cutting the deficit to just two points with 2 :30 remaining using full court pressure defense and three point shooting. However, the Lady Tigers (11-1, 2-0 in area play) hit several key free throws down the stretch to hand the Goshen girls (4-4, 2-1) its first home loss of the season dropping the Lady Eagles to third place behind Red Level and Highland Home (10-1, 1-0 in area play) in the area standings.

"The shots didn’t drop in the first half," said GHS girls head coach Charlie Winchester. "It was not our night for us, but I still liked the guts and character of our team because we are a scrappy bunch. I was impressed with the intensity we showed throughout the game. Our kids played hard despite the layoff, but we had too many turnovers. Our team is starting to gain respect."

Tyeka Jackson led the Lady Eagles with 15 points including three three-pointers, while Hope Wheeler had 11 points and Ashley Miniard contributed eight points and 10 rebounds in a losing cause for the Lady Eagles. Lakeshia Cope was second in rebounds for the Lady Eagles with seven boards.

Following an area game tonight at Georgiana, the Eagles return home on Friday night when they host Highland Home. The game was moved from Highland Home due to the finishing of the construction on a new gym. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. at Eagle Gym in Goshen.