Bulldogs come from behind
Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 6, 2000
to shock Eagles at Goshen
By STEVEN G. WATSON
What’s the best way to end an eight-game losing streak? Just ask the Pike County Bulldogs who did just that at the expense of cross-county rival Goshen Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs (3-10) put an end to their losing ways by coming back from a 10-point first half deficit to post a 57-50 win over the Eagles (5-2). The win counted as a little payback for three straight last-second losses PCHS had suffered at the hands of Goshen over the last two years.
"Any time you beat an outstanding team like Goshen it’s going to be exciting," Pike County head coach David Buehler said. "They’re such a good team and so well coached, it will always be a big deal. We haven’t beat Goshen since I’ve been here, I’ve loss three games in a row to them, this is the first time that this team has ever played in Goshen and these are their best buddies. So, for these kids, that’s as good as it gets."
"I love this," senior Tobias Johnson said. "I was kind of disappointed that we didn’t play at Troy State, but the thought of playing here and beating them,… it’s like beating the Chicago Bulls."
The Eagles looked to put Pike County down for the count early, jumping out of the gate and rattling off eight-unanswered points before anyone could bat an eye.
Averick Rogers, who started in his first game after becoming academically eligible for Goshen after Christmas, wasted no time getting into the swing of things drilling a 3-pointer from the right wing to start the game. Darius Flowers nailed one seconds later from the left side and it was easy for Buehler to see his team was in for a fight.
Goshen was able to stretch their lead to as much as 12 points late in the first half, but in the locker room the Pike County coach told his club to settle down and play ball like a team.
The Bulldogs kept chipping away at the Goshen lead in the second half, however. They also found ways to score around the Eagles’ Jamar Tucker, who blocked seven Pike County shots on the night and forced them to alter numerous others which wouldn’t fall.
With only 18.6 seconds remaining PCHS sophomore Michael Walker began to come alive. The smaller Walker somehow got to a missed free throw between two Goshen defenders to score before the end of the third and cut the lead to only two at 39-37.
Pike County then took the lead with only six minutes left on a 6-0 run put together totally by
Johnson. The Eagles took the lead back, but Walker came up with three huge defensive rebounds down the final stretch against the taller Goshen lineup.
"He’s going to be a heck of a ball player," Buehler said of Walker. "He’s a good kid and when he stepped on the floor tonight it just clicked. You could see that he turned it up like he just realized what he was doing again. It’s been over a year that he hasn’t played ball, but this is a kid that I’m going to count on."
"I’m used to this kind of stuff, I face it everyday," Walker said. "This is my second game right now and this win makes us forget about all the other games. It’s 2000 right now, we’re ready to start over."
Pike County took the lead for good on a three-point play by Walker as he banked in an offensive rebound drawing a foul. The sophomore hit the free throw and PCHS never trailed again.
The Bulldogs hit free throws the rest of the way and finished with a seven-point win that was a larger margin of victory than the last three contest combined.
"This is the first time I can honestly say we played unselfishly and we played like a team," Buehler said. "It didn’t have anything to do with the X’s and O’s, we actually hustled and played like a team. I knew if we played hard we would be very hard to beat, we just haven’t done that yet. It all depends if we play like a team. If we don’t and play like a bunch of individuals we’re not very good."
Johnson finished with a game-high 18 points for the Bulldogs while Jhirmal White had 16. Rogers and Tucker had 17 and 15 respectively to pace the Eagles’ effort.