Ashanti Levingston drives to the basket against Pittsburg Tuesday at Hawk Gym.

Both teams remain in first,

but margin of error is slim

Pleasant Grove’s girls cruised to an easy win over Pittsburg while the boys were unable to overcome a slow start and suffered their first district loss of the season Tuesday night at Hawk Gym.

The Lady Hawks’ 78-28 win and the boys’ 64-61 loss leaves both in first place District 14-4A. With one loss apiece, each will likely have to win out to claim an undisputed championship. The boys have four remaining games, the girls two.

Girls schedule

Boys schedule

Ashanti Levingston drives to the basket against Pittsburg Tuesday at Hawk Gym.

Lady Hawks 78, Pittsburg 28

Pittsburg (8-24, 1-7) went the first 9:30 without a goal as Pleasant Grove (18-7, 7-1) built a 25-0 lead and continued to pull away after that.

While the Lady Pirates struggled, the night was a perfect storm for the Lady Hawks, who held the visitors to one or zero shots on more than two dozen possessions.

“We defended and rebounded well,” said PG coach Jason Boston. “Unselfish play and great ball movement led to quality shots, which led to baskets.”

Lots of ‘em. Everybody on the roster scored.

Monique Walker scored 20 points, Sha’Nequa Henry had 15, and Madeline Haak had 12 to lead the Hawks. Ashanti Levingston went 3-for-four from the free-throw line and hit three field goals for nine points. Abby Hines had eight, including a three-pointer. Macy Young also hit a three-pointer and finished with five points.

Sydney Waldrep and Sydney Reynolds led Pittsburg with eight points apiece.

Kameron Woods gets a free throw in his sights.

Pittsburg 64, PG 61

Aaron Harmon’s three-point try bounced off the rim as time expired to foil a furious comeback by the Hawks, who twice trailed by double digits but turned the game into a full-speed dogfight at the end.

Harmon, the game’s leading scorer, had 10 of his 20 points in a fourth quarter that saw the lead change hands five hands. Turnovers on the offensive end of the court and a failure to grab key rebounds at the other end were the Hawks’ ultimate undoing.

“Pittsburg came in and played their game and we didn’t play ours,” said PG coach Billy Brewer. “We got out-hustled, out-rebounded, out-shot. You can’t win with 22 turnovers.

The Pirates (17-10, 2-5) never trailed through the first three quarters.

“We came out sluggish. We were rushing shots, and it cost us,” said Brewer, whose team fell to 18-5, 5-1 in district)

The Pirates won in the paint as they played an inside game throughout, repeatedly slashing through the Hawks’ big men. The Pirates did not hit a single three-pointer, largely because they did not shoot many.

Instead, they went to the bucket and found pay dirt. Jaylon Jimmerson had 19 points, Keithlen Griffin 14, and Keontae Burns 10. Five other Pirates scored.

“We fought throughout, made our shots, and finally finished a fourth quarter,” said Pittsburg coach Justin Bryson. “We hadn’t done that before, which is why we started 0-5 in district.”

What a fourth quarter it was.

Down 43-34 midway through the third period, the Hawks went on a 12-2 run, keyed by a pair of three-pointers from Aaron Harmon to trail by one, 47-46, going into the final stanza. Neither team led by more than three the rest of the way.

The Hawks tied it at 56 on a put-back layup by Luke Harmon and took the lead with 3:20 remaining when Noah Fawbush grabbed a rebound, drove the length of the court and drew the foul. He hit both free throws to make it 58-56, PG.

Moments later, Xavier Benson drew his fifth foul to send Burns to the line. He hit both his shots to tie it back up.

A turnover led to another Pitt bucket, and the Pirates never trailed after that as the Hawks committed two more turnovers and failed to get the rebound on a missed free throw.

Harmon got the Hawks within one with 19 seconds to play with a short jumper. The Hawks were forced to foul, and Griffin hit both shots to make it a three-point game with 12.4 seconds to play.

Kameron Woods had 16 points for the Hawks.

The Hawks and Lady Hawks will host Paris Friday night.

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A veteran journalist and educator, Bill Owney is a 1980 graduate of the University of Florida. Writing awards include APME honors for investigative reporting, the Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Award for public service reporting and numerous awards for editorial, column and news writing. He served as publisher of the Atlanta Citizens Journal and Pittsburg Gazette when each paper won sweepstakes awards from the Texas Press and North and East Texas Press Associations. He spent 15 years as a public school teacher and is an adjunct professor of English at Texarkana College.


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