Eagles rise to challenge

Published 12:05 am Thursday, February 4, 2016

Chase Gunter goes up for a layup against Brantley.

Chase Gunter goes up for a layup against Brantley.

For the first time since the 2001-2002 high school basketball season, the Pleasant Home Eagles’ varsity boys have the chance win the regular season and area tournament championship.

The Eagles (12-11) have picked up their pace over the past few weeks. Before Tuesday night, Pleasant Home had won seven straight games.

During the win streak, the Eagles also captured the Class 1A, Area 2 regular season crown and the right to host the Area 2 tournament.

A win over Brantley in Brantly, got the Eagles’ win streak rolling, but it was a loss to Kinston that Pleasant Home coach Troy Turman said lead to a challenge that got things turned around.

“Coming back after Christmas, we lost game against Poplar Springs that we thought we never should have lost,” Turman said. “We kind of got down at that point and then we didn’t get out of that funk and we went to Kinston and lost in overtime. They just out hustled us and made. We just weren’t in the game. It was then that we challenged them and told them it’s right there in front of them. We said we won’t be out hustled by teams anymore and we have to want it more.”

After that, Turman said things just began to click.

“It was a spark for us,” Turman. “After that loss to Kinston, we beat Brantley in Brantley… At the beginning of the season, one of our goals was to beat Brantley. The boys hadn’t beat them since 2006, so right then we accomplished a goal.”

Turman said the confidence his team gained during the streak has been crucial.

“The guys just came together after that big road win in Brantley,” Turman said. “The team chemistry got better, we cut down on turnovers and our confidence is up. A lot of this game is mental, and for as young of a team as we are, that confidence gained is very important. I think it will only improve during the playoffs.”

The Eagles have one more regular season game remaining before beginning the area tournament. On Friday night, Pleasant Home will host Flomaton for Senior Night.

Pleasant Home will face Florala in the first round of the Area 2 tournament, which will begin on Feb. 9 in Pleasant Home.

The Lady Eagles will also host the area tournament on the same day.