Goshen headed to Mobile with 64-49 win

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 18, 2001

Sports Writer

GOSHEN – Defense and three-pointers are a killer combination.

The Goshen Eagles used both to shoot down Excel Friday.

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The Eagles used an 11-0 fourth quarter run, including three three-pointers, and a suffocating defense to pull away for a 64-49 victory over Excel in a Class 2-A Sub-Regional boys basketball game at Goshen.

Goshen advances to Regional play February 20 in Mobile.

"We had a couple guys, Averick Rodgers and Darius Flowers came in and hit some big three’s for us and that gave us some confidence and we went back to our pressure and won the game from that point," Goshen head coach Major Lane said. "Excel fought hard and our kids responded well by coming back and doing what they had to do to win."

"We wanted to keep the pressure on, we knew (Bobby) Brown was killing us on the inside so we had to match up with him and then let the other guys beat us because we weren’t going to let him keep getting the ball inside and hurt us," Lane continued. "Obviously the pressure wore them down some to where we got some steals and some easy transition baskets to kind of open the game up."

After Excel opened the game with a bucket, the Eagles went on a 7-0 run, with five points coming from Kendaris Pelton, to take a 7-2 lead. Back-to-back dunks by Jamar Tucker and a basket by Pelton gave Goshen a 13-6 lead with 1:55 to play in the first quarter. But the Panthers closed the quarter with its own 7-0 run to tie the game at 13 heading into the second quarter.

The lead bounced back and forth in the quarter, but Pelton’s three-point play with 1:45 to go put the Eagles up 22-20. Tucker scored six points in the quarter, including the last four to give the Eagles a 26-22 lead at halftime.

Goshen opened up a 38-29 advantage on a basket by Jeremy Berry with 3:21 to play in the third quarter, but the Panthers wouldn’t go away, pulling within six at the end of third quarter, thanks to a three-pointer by Josh Deese with :39 seconds left.

"They just kept hanging around and hanging around and wouldn’t quit. That is the sign of a team that is well-coached and their coach did a great job with them, but we made some adjustments and fortunately we came out on top," Lane said.

The Eagles lead 43-37 with 6:18 to play after a three-point play by Excel’s Bobby Brown when the Eagles went on the 11-0 run that put the game out of reach. Tucker’s fourth dunk of the night capped off the win for the Eagles.

Tucker lead the way for the Eagles, scoring 22 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, blocking seven shots and dishing out four assists. Pelton chipped in 15 points and nine rebounds. Rogers added 10 points for Goshen.

But the Eagles hit only six of 15 free throws and that is something Lane knows his team needs to correct.

"That is something we are going to have to work on this weekend and as we practice and get ready for the big tournament down in Mobile," Lane said. "If you make your free throws, make your lay-ups and play good defense, chances are you will come out on top. We understand that, but we just didn’t do it tonight."

Lane said he doesn’t care who the Eagles play next, as long as his squad executes and keeps an eye on the goal.

"It doesn’t make a difference, our main thing is we have to play solid defense, we have to get the ball inside to our guys who can score and if they double up inside, we have to be able to hit our outside shots. Hopefully we can go down there and do well this first game and come back the second game and hopefully get to Birmingham."