Pisgah boys basketball has finished its season.
Although the team went 10-3, with all three losses coming at the hands of Hendersonville, which is currently ranked No. 1 in the state, because the playoff field is half of what it normally is, The Bears didn’t reach the postseason.
While the team knew this would likely be the case going into last week’s conference tournament, head coach Jonathan Whitson said he was happy with how hard his players worked on the court in their final two games.
First up for the Bears was Franklin, a team that played them close in their second meeting. Likewise, this game was close, but Pisgah was able to hold on for a 64-61 win.
Next was Hendersonville in the championship game. Although Pisgah played tough against the quick and tenacious Bearcats and kept it close until about four minutes left in the contest, The Bears couldn’t close it out and fell, 88-72, a score that isn’t indicative of how close things were for most of the game.
“I thought we came out strong against Franklin and really strong against Hendersonville,” Whitson said. “I thought the championship was our best overall game we’ve played all year, and got away from us. It seemed like the wheels fell off. Some easy shots just didn’t go in.”
Due to the pandemic, this basketball season was shortened, and likewise, the playoff field is halved, meaning instead of the western half of state fielding 32 teams, there were only 16. While some conferences had two or even three automatic bids, because the Mountain Six is smaller, only Hendersonville made the cut.
“Any other year, we’d have a home playoff game probably,” Whitson said. “It’s just one of those things that’s out of our control. Unfortunately, we had the No. 1 team in the state in our conference.”
“We knew going into the conference championship that we were on the outside looking in,” he added. “We needed some help from other teams downstate to get in, but we also knew this was potentially their last game for the six seniors and they wanted to try to win a championship going out their senior year.”
Although the season didn’t pan out the way Whitson and his Bears had hoped, the coach was pleased with how his team all year, including some players who stepped up in the right moments, including Brady Goolsby and Bailey Stockton.
“Bailey was awarded with making the all-tournament team,” Whitson said.
Overall, Whitson considers the season a success.
“My heart goes out for the guys but I’m extremely happy for how they played this year and the growth they made since last season,” he said. “Despite not making the playoffs, I’m extremely pleased with the outcome. We finished 10-3 and lost to just one team, and that one team is the top in the state. (Hendersonville head coach) Marvin (Featherstone) told me after the championship game that he’s getting too old for that kind of stuff, because that last game was a battle. It was a lot of fun.”