Eagles rally against Newton

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 19, 2011

Playing its second tough game in as many nights and without 6-foot-7 center Talbot Buys, Porters Chapel had to make adjustments against Newton Academy Friday night.

The Eagles managed to do so in the second half. PCA broke away from a 20-20 tie at the half to beat visiting Newton Academy 49-35.

The Eagles (3-0) took hold of the MAIS District 4-A race with the win. Last year’s district champ, University Christian, left the MAIS for the MHSAA and that left PCA and Newton as the district top two returning favorites.

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The Generals showed in the first half they would give the Eagles a battle. A 3-pointer by Dillon Williams gave Newton a 13-10 lead early in the second quarter. The lead switched hands three times before halftime.

In the second half, PCA was productive in aggressively attacking Newton’s 1-2-2 zone. PCA coach E.J. Creel said the Eagles needed a half to adjust from Buys’ absence.

“Talbot was missing and our game plan changes,” Creel said. “Plus, we were coming off a game against a bigger school (Canton) and the refs there just let a lot of things go. Tonight, it was different.”

At Canton Academy Thursday night, the Eagles had to overcome a double-digit deficit. They roared back with a big third quarter. The same thing happened against Newton as the Eagles scored the first 10 points of the quarter.

Ted Brisco, who had 29 against Canton, was held to just 10 against Newton, but four of his points came in the opening minute off an inside drive and two free throws. P.J. Lassiter added a driving layup and two more free throws for a 28-20 lead. From that point, the star of last year’s run to the Class A semifinals, Kawayne Gaston, took over.

Gaston made three field goals and was 5-of-6 from the free throw line to finish off the Generals.

He finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and five steals.

“With Talbot not in there, we had to replace size with speed,” Gaston said. “We were in too much of a rush in the first half. We readjusted our offense and got it together there in the second half.”

Lassiter had 11 points while Brisco had eight rebounds. Newton was led by Williams with 13 and Tre’ Collins had 11.