Eagles use big run to beat Heidelberg

Published 11:24 am Wednesday, February 15, 2012

LEARNED — Postseason basketball is often summed up in two words: survive, and advance.

For Porters Chapel, Tuesday’s first-round MAIS Class A South Central Tournament game against Heidelberg wasn’t pretty. The Eagles struggled to find their shot, and really only put together a total effort for a few minutes in the third quarter.

In the end, that was enough to get the job done. They survived with a 57-43 victory, and advanced to the South Central semifinals and next week’s Class A state tournament.

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“I don’t know what it is,” PCA coach E.J. Creel said. “We didn’t have a consistently great practice yesterday. So hopefully that was just a run over from that.”

PCA (21-4) will next face District 5-A rival Russell Christian in the semifinals Friday night. They’ll probably need a better shooting performance than the one they turned in against Heidelberg to reach the championship game.

The Eagles went 7-for-26 (26.9 percent) from the field in the first half, and shot just 36.1 percent for the game. They went 17-for-31 at the foul line.

“There were a few places I thought we were fixing to run off, then we made one or two mistakes and (Heidelberg) did a good job scoring or creating good things off our mistakes. The first half, they did a good job clogging the middle up,” Creel said.

The Eagles did start the third quarter hot, though, and that gave them enough separation to take control.

After taking a 21-20 lead into halftime, PCA hit six of its first seven shots in the third quarter. Peter Harris and Ted Brisco each hit a 3-pointer, and Brisco converted a conventional three-point play during a 13-4 run that gave PCA a 36-26 lead with 3½ minutes left.

The Eagles went cold again after their big run, but it didn’t matter. They were stingy enough on defense to keep Heidelberg from getting closer than six points the rest of the way. Kawayne Gaston had a key steal and layup to put PCA ahead 47-38 with three minutes left in the game.

The Eagles also went 10-for-15 at the foul line in the fourth quarter to maintain the advantage.

Gaston finished with 20 points for PCA, Alton Burden scored 12 and Brisco had 11. Austin Brashier led Heidelberg (7-13) with 13 points, while Tyler Hodge had 12 points and 13 rebounds.