Goshen dumps Yellowjackets in Dothan

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 29, 2000

Sports Writer

DOTHAN – The stage was set Wednesday night for the fourth ranked Goshen High School Eagles to prove they belonged as one of the elite basketball programs in the Wiregrass in the first round of the Dothan Eagle/Dothan Progress Holiday Prep Basketball Tournament.

Perhaps many people around the state of Alabama will finally take notice as the Eagles dominated

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every phase of the game en route to an easy 65-45 victory over the 4A perennial power Abbeville Yellow Jackets at the Dothan Civic Center in front approximately 2,500 fans.

The loss was only the second time in 15 years Abbeville has been knocked out in the first round of the Holiday Prep Tournament.

With the win, the Eagles (7-0) advanced to the second round to face No. 10 ranked 6A Northview (10-0) late Thursday night with the winner facing the Rehobeth-Pleasant Home winner tonight at 7:30 p.m in the semifinals. The 1A Eagles from southern Covington County surprised 6A power Dothan 58-54 in another first round game. Details were not available at press time.

Trailing 4-2 just two minutes into the game, the Eagles began to take control, going on a 15-2 run in the final six minutes of the first quarter to take a 17-6 lead. Junior guard Averick Rogers led the way scoring eight points in the opening stanza.

In the second quarter, the tempo slowed down considerably as Abbeville surprised Goshen taking off its press going into a half court zone. As a result, Abbeville went on a 15-9 run cutting the deficit to 26-21 with just one minute left in the first half.

Goshen’s Jeremy Berry hit a runout basket with three seconds left allowed the Eagles to settle for a 28-21 halftime lead.

Despite the second quarter mini-drought, GHS head coach Major Lane said getting off to a good start was key in the first half.

"We wanted to be aggressive and do the things we normally do," Lane said. "With the pressure style we play, there’s always going to be a chance for us to get the ball in the basket. Fortunately, we converted on some easy chances. We wanted to go inside and outside early. I thought our kids really came out and played hard."

Early in the third quarter, Abbeville cut the deficit to 29-25 in the opening minute of play before the Eagles started to explode from behind the arc. After missing a pair of early three-pointers, Rogers started to get into a zone nailing three consecutive three pointers to key a 15-4 run giving the Eagles a 48-31 lead heading into the final stanza. The key to the run was Goshen’s outstanding ball movement as they were finally able to solve Abbeville’s 2-3 zone with Rogers and his tremendous perimeter shooting.

In the fourth quarter, the Eagles brought the neutral crowd to their feet as Tucker blocked a shot halfway to midcourt before racing furiously

to get the ball for a thunderous slam dunk extending Goshen’s lead to 53-31 with seven minutes remaining in the game. Pelton followed with a dunk of his own as the Eagles completed surprising easy domination of the Yellow Jackets (7-4) in their first ever Holiday Prep Tournament game.

Lane said he was very pleased with how the Eagles played under control when Abbeville was threatening to make a game of it early in the second half.

"I thought we showed a lot of poise, patience and determination," Lane said. "We were focused and we didn’t want to be denied. We wanted to prove we could play good quality basketball."

The Eagles finished the game shooting 47 percent from the floor, while forcing Abbeville to turn the ball over 23 times.

Rogers led the Eagles with 22 points including 6-of-9 from three point range. Tucker collected his sixth consecutive double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds along with four blocked shots, while Kendaris Pelton had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Jeremy Berry contributed eight points while Reginald Ginyard had three points and 11 rebounds as the Eagles dominated the boards throughout most of the game.

Cornelius Gaines scored 16 points for the Yellow Jackets in a losing cause.

It was the fifth time in the first seven games that the Eagles have held their opponents to less than 50 points in a game.

The other two second round matchups Thursday night included 3A Florida basketball power Malone taking on 2A Georgia establishment Randolph-Clay High School, while Carroll-Ozark (4-8) faced Headland (9-4).

ROGERS TRIPLED OUT IN CONTEST: Shortly after Goshen’s whitewash of Abbeville, Rogers participated in a three point shooting contest with some of the best long range perimeter artists in the Wiregrass.

After being in the zone blistering the Yellow Jackets, Rogers struggled going 3-of-9 in the contest. However, the Goshen crowd got the last laugh when public address announcer Marc Hall of WTVY -TV sports said, "He (Rogers) hit the shots when they counted."

Rogers older brother Antrone, who is Goshen’s all time leading scorer, was in attendance at Wednesday night’s game watching Averick put on a dazzling performance.