Published 12:01 am Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pleasant Home’s Lance Davis (14) drives down the court during the second half Tuesday night. The Eagles defeated Geneva Count 59-56 to win their first area championship in three years. |                     Andrew Garner/Star-News

Pleasant Home’s Lance Davis (14) drives down the court during the second half Tuesday night. The Eagles defeated Geneva Count 59-56 to win their first area championship in three years. | Andrew Garner/Star-News


Pleasant Home tops Geneva County 59-56 to win area title Tuesday

Folks keep telling Pleasant Home coach Jerry Davis that his Eagles are resilient.

The Eagles were resilient Tuesday night as they adjusted to a first-half deficit to Geneva County, and beat the Bulldogs 50-56 to claim the Class 1A, Area 2 championship title.

An early grave was starting to be dug for the Eagles in the first half because their star player — Lance Davis — picked up two fouls. PHS trailed 27-23 at halftime.

The senior would later pick up his third and fourth fouls at the start of the third and fourth periods, respectively.

But, Lance fought through the adversity and scored 26 points to lead his Eagles to their second straight area championship.

“We didn’t have a lot of choice,” Davis said about having to give the ball to Lance in the fourth period. “He’s a senior. The majority of the pressure that’s put on us is on his shoulders. He’s handled it pretty well for 27 ball games so far. That’s what seniors do.”

With this victory, Pleasant Home will host J.F. Shields in the Class 1A South Sub Regional on Friday night at 7. Geneva County travels to Brantley.

PHS outscored the Bulldogs 27-11 in the third period, where Lance scored 10 of his 26 points, to go up 40-38 going into the fourth.

The Eagles took a 42-38 lead with a Ty Hammett put back off of a steal from Jon Cole Chesser. Chesser later found Lance for a bucket and the Eagles led 44-38.

Lance would pick up his fourth foul on Geneva County’s Nick Carroll, who got a bucket to set up a 3-ball play with 6:49 to go.

Pleasant Home’s Troy Fantroy got a jumper to go to give the Eagles a 49-42 lead with a little less than five minutes remaining.

Geneva County’s Seth Stafford put up a long jumper and the Bulldogs cut it to five.

With a GCHS press on defense, Pleasant Home took advantage as Lance drove the lane to force a 1-and-1 shot with 4:29 left. Lance missed the shot but Darrell Jackson picked up his fifth for the Bulldogs.

Stafford drained a 3-pointer to put the game at 50-47 with more than four minutes to go, but PHS found a way to increase the gap, thanks to Fantroy’s rebound-putback.

Geneva County leading scorer Skylar Pensyl, who had 16 points, drove the lane for two.

Chesser answered with a pair of free throws and GCHS had to call timeout with 1:54 left.

After the timeout, Lance drove the ball down the court, but the ball was scooped by Stafford, who drained a layup on the other end to cut the game to 54-51.

Lewis Carroll made a floater to cut the lead to 54-53 with less than a minute remaining.

Lance then was fouled and made the front-end of a pair with 48.3 left.

Down the stretch, Lance and Chesser drained crucial free throws to give the Eagles the edge.

The only thing the Bulldogs could do was foul and utilize their timeouts.

With five seconds left, Stafford drained a 3-pointer to put the game at 58-56 and his team took a quick timeout with 1.4 left.

Out of the gate, Lance was fouled with 0.1 left. He made his first free throw and asked by his father, Jerry, to intentionally miss the second to drain the clock.

PHS shot out to a 7-4 lead with 6:01 on the clock in the first, but the Bulldogs cut the game to 8-8 with Nick Carroll’s bucket.

Both teams went back and forth in the last two minutes and were tied 12-12 after the first period.

Hammett got a clutch putback and was fouled with 5:21 left in the second to give his team a 19-16 advantage.

Stafford got a trey that put GCHS up 21-19 more than a minute later.

From there, the Bulldogs took leads of 22-19 and 25-21.

Fantroy helped keep the game honest with a rebound after Chesser made the first of a 1-and-1 to cut the game at 25-22.

Hammett made a free throw with 30.4 left in the first half and Pensyl drained two free throws to end the scoring of the first half.

“We dug ourselves in a hole and were in foul trouble to start with,” the Eagles coach said. “There’s nothing surprising about anything we did. We just hung in there. That’s all we were trying to do in the first half. Things started getting going and we got in foul trouble. I think the kids did a good job.

“The way I see it, we beat them twice by two (points), but we blew them out tonight by three,” he said.

Lance’s third foul came on a drive from Jackson of GCHS, which put the Bulldogs ahead 29-23 to start the third period.

Chesser drove the base line and got on to go and put the score at 29-25.

Davis said he liked the way the boys handled the game with Lance out of the game for the first half.

“It was a new adventure for us tonight,” he said. “I thought the kids responded tonight. It was ugly at times. We got through it and we did the right things the majority of the time. We came back out in the second half and played with a little bit of freedom.”

Chesser added 11 points to pace the Eagles (18-9). Fantroy added nine points and Hammett scored five points.

Stafford chipped in 13 points for the Bulldogs (11-13) and Nick Carroll had 10 poinnts.