Eagles claim Area 2 title over Tigers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2000

Sports Writer

RED LEVEL – The Goshen High School Eagles knew coming into Tuesday’s game with the Red Level Tigers that the pressure was on to restore order in what turned out to be a fight to the finish in Class 2A Area 2 following a Jan. 2 setback.

However, when the dust was settled, the fourth ranked Eagles put together one of their most complete performances of the 2000-2001 season at just the right time as they crushed the Tigers 82-43 to claim the regular season area championship in front of a packed house at the RLHS Gym.

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The victory avenged one of Goshen’s two losses and its only setback at home this season. Over four weeks ago, the Eagles dropped a 79-75 overtime decision to the Tigers following a heartbreaking loss to Northview at the Dothan Eagle/ Dothan Progress Basketball Tournament in December.

With the win, the Eagles (14-2, 7-1 in area) earned the right to host the area tournament which begins next Thursday at Eagle Gym in Goshen. GHS will open up postseason action on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. against the winner of the play-in game between Georgiana and Highland Home.

The Eagles couldn’t have opened up Tuesday’s championship clash with a better script as they jumped on top of Red Level early taking the partisan Tiger crowd out of the game. Trailing 10-8 with five minutes remaining in the opening quarter, the Eagles went on a 9-1 run to take a 17-11 lead with three remaining in the first period thanks to pair of made three pointers by senior Darius Flowers.

After the Tigers (17-4, 6-2 in area) cut the deficit to four points, the Eagles put the hammer down once again as they completed the first eight minutes with an 11-2 run. The key to the explosion was Goshen’s ability to get Red Level forward Anthony Ryce in foul trouble as they were able to get the ball inside. Ryce, who scored 18 points in the Red Level win at Goshen last month, picked up his third personal foul with 33.2 seconds remaining while being held to just eight points. As a result, the Eagles took a 28-15 lead into the second period.

GHS head coach Major Lane said Goshen’s quick burst to start the game made a huge difference in the outcome.

"It was big because we were able to get the ball inside and get their big guys in foul trouble," Lane said. "We felt pretty good about the way we played in the first quarter. We were able to get them out (of the zone) by hitting the outside shots."

In the second quarter, the Eagles briefly appeared to have control of the game slipping away

when senior forward Jamar Tucker picked up his second foul with the Tigers still within striking distance trailing just 31-20 at the 5:27 mark in the first half.

However, Goshen cracked the whip closing out the first half in grand style as they went on a 15-2 run. The spurt

was highlighted by a last second runner by Kendaris Pelton off a missed rebound to give the Eagles a 46-23 lead at intermission. Pelton finished with a double-double in the first half alone with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Lane said he was proud of how the Eagles were able to dominate the half court against the physical Tigers.

"We felt good because we kept pressure on the perimeter and denied them the ball on the inside," Lane said. "But we were just hungry. When I see it in their eyes, I know we can get it done."

In the second half, the Eagles scored the first points of the third quarter and never looked back as they extended their advantage to as much as 36 points at 66-30 going into the final stanza. The Eagles once again continued

their dominance as they outrebounded Red Level 20-7 in the third quarter.

At one point in the fourth quarter, Goshen more than doubled the score on the Tigers (76-36) before settling for a 39 point verdict.

Junior Averick Rogers led the all scorers for the Eagles with 24 points while grabbing four rebounds. Pelton finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, while Tucker also had a double-double finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds for GHS. Flowers used the three-ball to compile all nine of his points, while Damien Pelton came off the bench in the second half to score six points. The Eagles finished with eight made three pointers in the contest.

Jamie Wright led the Tigers in double figures with 14 points, while Frank Tolbert scored 13 points in a losing cause.

The Eagles finished 8-of-12 at the foul line in the game. Unofficially, GHS grabbed 38 rebounds compared to Red Level’s 16 for the evening.

While the Eagles are more than pleased with winning the area, Lane told his team after the game there’s still lots of unfinished business ahead.

"We are area champs because we really stepped up tonight," Lane said. "But now we’re out on a mission. We’ve got seven more (postseason games) to go in order to win it all. We’ve got to go for the gusto because this is our year to win the state (title)."

Red Level (girls) 47 Goshen 36

Jessica Weathers scored 21 points as the Red Level High School Lady Tigers handed the Goshen Lady Eagles its sixth consecutive loss with a 47-36 victory in girls basketball action Tuesday night.

Weathers, who is expected to play at AUM next year, scored 10 of her game high total in the third quarter to seal the win for Red Level (18-3, 6-2).

The Lady Eagles (5-10, 3-5) fell behind by as much as 27 points going into the final stanza before making the outcome respectable at the end holding Red Level to just three points in the fourth quarter.

Eunique Williams led the Lady Eagles with 18 points for Goshen in a losing cause. No other GHS player scored more than five points in the contest.

GHS will return to action tonight when they begin a regular season ending three-game homestand hosting the Pike County High School Bulldogs. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. at Eagle Gym.