Eagles look to gain ground in area standings

Published 9:33 am Monday, January 23, 2012

With area play coming to a close the Goshen Eagles basketball team has a tough challenge ahead, a home matchup with Central-Hayneville Tuesday night.

Undefeated in area play, Central defeated Goshen previously in an 85-55 win that helped drop Goshen to 1-3 in region games.

Eagles head coach Pate Harrison knows that a win against Central would not only be a major morale booster, but a step closer to the playoffs.

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“It would be a huge win and would guarantee us having to play them again in the tournament,” Harrison said. “It would give our players a lot of confidence and be a huge home victory, and I think one of the biggest things our guys need right now is confidence.”

The expectations will be high for the Eagles, who started out strong this season and going 4-2 with wins against Pike County and Ariton, but have hit a bit of a wall since starting region play.

Now with only two area games left in the season Central will be possibly the biggest test the Eagles have faced so far, and Harrison knows it will take a strong showing to bring in a win.

“We just have to play better, period,” he said. “We’ve got to make more of our outside shots and work on distributing the ball more and stop relying on only two or three shooters. Central has some big shooters and we have to get our hands in there and stop them.”

Aside from a chance to get some payback on Central for their previous win, the Eagles see a rematch as a chance to show how powerful they can be and demonstrate that their home arena can be just as tough as Central’s.

“It’s good for the kids to play this game,” Harrison said. “We started the fourth down by eight last time and it’s not easy to play at Central it’s just a different atmosphere. I think it helps our guys to know that they can play with them and having them come here is going to be a big boost for us. Beating Central would be like beating a college team to our players.”

Even though Central is the immediate threat to Goshen’s tournament hopes, they haven’t forgotten that win or lose, they also have to take on area foe Highland Home right after in their final area game of the season.

“I don’t want the guys to think this is the end of the season win or lose,” Harrison said. “They can’t put everything on this one game we’ve still got Highland Home this week and three more next week. Right now I want to focus on them being healthy and doing things right.”

It will take a healthy and confident squad on behalf of Goshen to loosen Central’s iron grip on the area, but Harrison believes his team is ready to meet the challenge.

“We’ve sized them up and know how big and good they are,” he said. “A win would be huge for this program and show that we are headed in the right direction. We’ve prepared and practiced and we’re ready to get out and play.”

Tip-off for Goshen is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.