Four-Peat: Eagles knock off Samson for area championship

Published 9:47 pm Friday, February 8, 2019

The Goshen Eagles overcame a slow start in their 59-44 win over Samson, giving them their fourth straight area championship.

The Eagles trailed for the entire first half, by as much as 10 points. The Eagles outscored Samson 36-19 in the second half and clinched a home sub-regional game for the fourth consecutive season.

“We had to wake up in that first quarter and realize that nobody is going to hand us anything,” said head coach Daniell Powell. “I kind of liked that we had to go and fight for it. I’m glad we were able to turn things around.”

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The biggest difference between half number one and two, according to Powell, was the defensive intensity.

“We had a speech at halftime about picking up the intensity on the defensive end,” Powell said. “Once we picked up the intensity on the defensive end, it was our game to take.”

Friday’s area championship may have been the fourth straight for the Eagles, but for coach Powell, it was his first as a member of the Eagles.

“It’s a great feeling to come out in the first season and win an area championship in the first season,” Powell said. “We just have to go into the sub-regionals and take care of business.”

The Eagles struggled out of the gate offensively on Friday night. Samson held the Eagles to just four first-quarter points. Samson carried a 14-4 lead into the second quarter.

Trailing by seven at 23-16, the Eagles went on a 7-0 run to even up the game for the first time at 23-23 a piece. Samson scored the last basket of the half and took a 25-23 lead into halftime.

The Eagles were playing banged up for much of the contest. Both Dakari Pelton and Caleb Dawson both have apparent leg injuries.

“Every game we have gotten better and better at handling adversity,” Powell said. “I told my boys to keep working hard and we’ll get through it.”

The Eagles took their first lead of the game with 3:03 remaining in the third quarter when Dante Dawson scored. The Eagles turned that into a 11-0 run to end the third quarter. They entered the fourth leading 36-28.

The Eagles led by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter before finishing out the game with a 15-point win.

Despite being banged up, Pelton led the Eagles with 18 points, while RaQuan Martin finished 17. Dante Dawson also finished in double figures with 11.

Pelton, Dante Dawson and Martin all earned All-Tournament honors after the game.

The Eagles will now get set to host the Sub-Regional round of the tournament. They will take on the Area 3 runner-up on either Monday or Tuesday.

“It allows the seniors to have at least one more game here in Goshen,” Powell said. “They have to go out looking good. Showing everybody that they deserve to make it to the next round.”