Free throws lift Goshen in final seconds

Published 10:51 pm Monday, November 28, 2011

The Goshen Eagles opened their basketball season at home Monday with the Pike County Bulldogs. The Eagles were able to keep the Bulldogs from going back to Brundidge with a much needed win but it took all 32 minutes as Joshua Milsap drained three free throws with 4.1 seconds left on the clock to conclude a hard fought 40-39 win.

The first quarter was played with significant pace and action going back and forth as the teams traded leads throughout. A dunk from Milsap gave the Eagles their final lead of the quarter at 10-9 before a beautiful spinning reverse layup from the Bulldogs’ Deandre Moore pushed the visitors lead to 11-10 at the end of the quarter.

The second quarter provided a rarely seen shutout pitched by PCHS as the visitors employed a Princeton-style offense of high-low screens and backdoor cuts to frustrate the home team and take a 15-10 halftime lead. The only baskets of the quarter came from the Bulldogs’ Quadry Greasham at the 5:38 mark and from Ryshawn Hall at the 3:00 mark.

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Both teams employed full court press to increase tempo in the third quarter as Milsap scored seven of his team high 20 points in the quarter.

The Eagles were able to cut a 25-17 lead down to five at the end of the quarter after a technical foul was whistled on PCHS and possession of the ball awarded to the home team after the free throws.

The fourth quarter had furious action on both ends of the floor. A steal by Marlon Meadows led to a fast break layin by Hall and Meadows added a jumper to push the lead to 29-21 early on in the quarter. Deangelo Orum and Carlton Bean of Goshen combined to score the next seven points in the span of less than a minute to cut the gap to 29-28 and the teams fought evenly from that point on.

Back-to-back baskets by Hall generated from the defense of Meadows gave PCHS a lead of 36-32 with 2:41 left. The teams traded points and with under a minute left the Bulldog lead was 39-35. Head coach Doug Branson pointed to this final stretch as the turning point as a missed shot gave the eagles an opportunity to cut the lead to 39-37 on a Milsap basket with 12.4 seconds remaining. A foul put the Bulldogs on the free throw line where two missed shots gave Goshen the ball back. Milsap was fouled attempting a three point basket with 4.1 seconds remaining and he calmly made all three. Time ran out as the Bulldogs advanced the ball up court for one final try.

Head coach Pate Harrison of Goshen was quick to give credit to the visitors.

“They played their butts off and did everything needed to have a chance to win,” Harrison said. “I feel confident that as the season goes along we will get better.”

The PCHS Lady Bulldogs were able to secure a 45-30 victory over the host team in a rather unusual fashion. The first quarter score was 8-5 in favor of the visiting team and the Eagles’ Ivia Pollard hit a free throw early in the second quarter to cut the lead to 8-6. A technical foul was called on Goshen head coach Scott Gafford and the Bulldogs used the momentum shift to reel off 24 unanswered points to create a 32-6 halftime margin.

The Eagles were able to put together an 8-0 run of their own at the outset of the third quarter with Pollard scoring nine of her team-high 25 points in the quarter. A basket by Tierra Hall ended the run temporarily but Goshen fought to cut the lead to 34-20 by the ned of the quarter on a Pollard three pointer.

The Eagles continued to keep pace with the visitors but were unable to cut the margin any closer as Hall added six of her team high nineteen points and teammate Jamilya Coleman contributed five of her 13 points to the cause to seal the win.