Cross-county rivals meet again to settle first-ever tourney champ

Published 10:45 pm Thursday, December 27, 2012

Goshen – The Pike County boy’s team routed Zion Chapel, 53-16. The Rebel held things close in the first quarter with the teams separated by just seven points, 12-5.

The Bulldogs would go on a 33-3 run stretching until the midway point of the third period.

Stevie Smiley led all scorers with 10 points. Kamari Jackson, Larry Sellers and Tony Vazain scored six points each.

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For Zion Chapel, Ethan Deal scored seven points while Taylor Ballard added six.

Goshen 56, Highland Home 39

Goshen head coach Johnny Mitchell loved to run the floor and play in a fast break offense during his playing days some years ago.

Mitchell is currently using the style of play he loved to get the Goshen Eagles’ season turned around. Goshen topped Highland Home, 56-39, in the first round of the Goshen Holiday Tournament sponsored by The Messenger Thursday night.

The fast paced Eagles jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter and never looked back the rest of the way. The Flying Squadron scored the first and last points of the first stanza, but Goshen scorched the nets on a 19-0 run in the middle of the quarter to take control of the game.

“Every team has an identity, and we are still trying to find ours,” said Mitchell. “We know that we have to start with aggressive defense and offense will come. We didn’t force a lot of turnovers with our press, but we were able to play with more intensity and the kids enjoyed it.”

Highland Home tried to cut in to the Goshen lead multiple times down the stretch, but never could get closed than 10 points. The Eagles were able to get a big play when the needed it and pull back away.

Mitchell said that his team doesn’t have a big scoring threat, and that it takes a team effort to win ball games.

“We don’t have a guy that can come out here and put up 25 or 30 point,” said Mitchell. “We have to play as a team and get points when and how we can. We have to take advantage of free throws, fast breaks and open looks when we can get them.”

True to Mitchell’s words, Goshen’s top scorer on the night, JaMarius McIntyre, scored 11 points. Senior Carlton Bean added 10 more.

With the win, the Eagles advance to the championship round of the tournament and will square off with a familiar foe.

For the third time this season, Goshen will try to outplay Pike County and Mitchell will try to outcoach former Goshen star Doug Branson.

In the previous two matchups this season, the Bulldogs were able to get the win but both games came down to the wire. Mitchell says there are similarities between the two county rivals.

“We are going to play intense, and I’m sure Doug will have his guys playing the same way,” Mitchell said. “Both teams can run, and get hot shooting. It will be good game.”

Though Mitchell respects Branson, he did say he will enter the game with a little chip on his shoulder.

“We have played them twice, and haven’t beaten them yet,” said Mitchell. “It’s hard to beat a team multiple times in a year, and I hope that saying holds true. I can’t let Doug whoop me three times in one year.”

Tipoff for the boys championship is set for 7 p.m.

Zion Chapel 39, Pike County 13

The Zion Chapel and Pike County girls got action kicked off in the 1st Annual Goshen Holiday Tournament Sponsored by The Messenger on Thursday.

Zion Chapel walked away with a dominating 39-13 victory over the Bulldogs.

Pike County’s offense was stagnate for the majority of the game and didn’t score until the 1:29 mark in the second quarter.

Whitney Rugg led Zion Chapel with 15 points. Ashlyn Bentley scored 12.

For Pike County, Chenzira Flowers scored seven points.

Pike County will play Goshen at 2:30 p.m. today in the third place game. Zion Chapel will take on Highland Home for the tournament championship.