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Goshen keeps rolling

Eagles down Jags, advance to play Dothan for Prep Classic title

By KEVIN PEARCEY

Sports Editor

DOTHAN – Barbour County just kept hoping Goshen’s Ge-Vonne Cooper and Kendaris Pelton would miss during the first quarter of Saturday night’s Dothan Progress/Eagle Holiday Prep Classic semifinal game.

Needless to say, they didn’t.

Pelton scored a game-high 31 points and Cooper added 23 as the Eagles eliminated the Class 2A No. 1 Jaguars, 62-50.

In just its second appearance in the Prep Classic, Goshen advances to the championship game, which will be held on Monday night at the Dothan Civic Center. The Eagles will take on Class 6A Dothan, 59-57 overtime winners over cross-town rival Northview in the other semifinal contest also on Saturday.

"It’s great for our kids, great for our program and great for our community," said GHS head coach Major Lane about reaching the title game. "Thank God that we had an opportunity to play in such a fine tournament. We’ve got one more to go and we’re looking forward to that."

The eighth-ranked Eagles shook off a below average three-point shooting performance in Friday’s 56-49 second round win over Samson to open up a close game against the Jaguars.

In the opening quarter, Cooper knocked down four straight three-pointers to help Goshen to a 22-19 advantage and in the second it was Pelton getting hot, from both the inside and outside. Two free throws by the junior forward put the Eagles up 28-24 and then Pelton stepped out past the arc to hit two three-point shots as Goshen built a 39-30 lead at halftime.

"Kendaris is an outstanding three-point shooter. He’s as fine a three-point shooter as we have on the team, but because of the way we play him – we play him inside so much – a lot of people don’t know that," said Lane. ‘When we feel like we have a mismatch, we bring him outside."

Goshen shot 10-of-16 from behind the arc on the night.

Pelton opened the third quarter by hitting another three-pointer to give Goshen a 42-30 lead. Cooper followed with one of his own and then Lane pulled Pelton back inside in order to run some clock.

The Eagles were up 51-39 at the end of the third and after a Barbour County basket, Pelton answered with a 2-point basket and foul on the other end of the court for Goshen.

But the Jaguars began to make a run at the Eagles’ lead.

BCHS’s Michael Blackmon hit one-of-two from the foul line then he and Antonio Thomas combined for consecutive baskets, cutting Goshen’s lead to eight points at 54-46.

The two teams exchanged three-point plays on their next two possessions as Pelton pulled down an offensive rebound for a put-back and was fouled on the play. Barbour County got three the hard way courtesy of point guard Richard Mitchell on the Jaguars’ next trip down.

But the Eagles’ defense limited Barbour County to just one point, that coming on a foul shot by Scottie Glenn, with three minutes left in the game. For Goshen, Cooper hit one free throw, while Averick Rogers and Pelton closed out the game going four-of-four at the foul line.

"We hit some shots that we had to hit," said Lane. "We want to look for the open shot, but we feel like to be effective we have to work it inside some as well. Of course tonight, we were able to come inside and out and it worked out well for us."

Rogers finished with eight points for Goshen. Barbour County was led by Thomas, who finished with 13 points. Mitchell had 12 for the Jaguars and Blackmon added 10.

Tip-off for the championship contest on Monday night is at 6 p.m. Northview will play Barbour County in the consolation game at 4 p.m.