Free throws help Goshen down Red Level, 79-70

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 15, 2001

Sports Editor

GOSHEN – For an area tournament championship game, round three of Goshen vs. Red Level lived up to all the expectations.

The game was a close contest throughout, but Goshen was able to covert 13-of-16 free throw attempts in the final two minutes of the game and take 79-70 win over the Tigers.

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With the victory, Goshen (20-2), the Area 2 champions, claimed the right to host a AHSAA state sub-regional game against Excel when the Class 2A playoffs begin on Friday night. This will be the first time since 1998 that Goshen has hosted a sub-region game. Red Level also joins the Eagles in the playoffs, but will be on the road in the first round.

The Tigers, a team which a few short weeks ago were pounded by the Eagles 82-43, outhustled, outrebounded and generally outperformed Goshen for a majority of Tuesday night’s game. With three minutes left in the third quarter, Red Level led by as many as nine points, 51-42, and looked to be on the verge of the upset.

"They really beat us up on the inside," said Lane. "We got some guys, such as Jeremy Berry, in early foul trouble that really hurt us."

Berry, an aggressive rebounder, picked up four quick fouls in the first half, which forced Lane to keep the senior on the bench for the better part of the game.

"We couldn’t keep him (Berry) out too long, because we really missed his play on defense and on the glass," said Lane. "Jeremy’s just 6-foot tall but he has a vertical leap to match the best of them."

Needing an answer to Red Level’s opening 17-6 third quarter run, Goshen’s Darius Flowers dropped in back-to-back 3-pointers, as the Eagles went on an 11-0 run of their own. A 3-pointer by Averick Rogers gave Goshen a 53-51 lead.

The Tigers responded with four straight points, but Jamar Tucker tied the game 55-55, when he took the ball at midcourt with four seconds left in the period and beat the buzzer with a layup.

Tucker gave the Eagles back the lead 62-61 with 3:47 remaining in the game.

Kendaris Pelton, who finished with 20 points, padded the lead with a basket and then two free throws by Rogers gave Goshen 66-61 lead.

A jumper and a 3-pointer by Red Level’s Jamie Wright, who had a game-high 29 points, cut the Eagles’ lead to 68-66, but Rogers knocked down a jumper

for Goshen on the Eagles’ next offensive possession.

It was the last field goal of the game for Goshen. The Eagles spent the final minute of play at the free throw line.

Lane said it was the free throw shooting down the stretch that won the game. Red Level was the only team to beat Goshen at home during the regular season. defeating the Eagles on Jan. 2, 79-75 in overtime. In that contest Goshen missed 13 free throws.

"We shot about 76.3 percent for this game," said Lane. "I told the guys that anywhere between 80 and 75 percent is a good outing, but of course we’re always looking to improve in that area."

As for Excel, who lost to Southern Choctaw in their area tournament championship, Lane expects a challenge.

"I know that they’re (Excel) a very disciplined basketball team and very quick and athletic," he said. "We’re going to get in some good work on Wednesday and Thursday and come in prepared to play up to our capabilities."