Pisgah’s girls basketball team responded to back-to-back losses with back-to-back wins, knocking off McDowell in overtime Dec. 30 before earning a conference road win at West Henderson Tuesday night.
“I feel like we’ve kind of weathered it and we look forward to these next couple weeks,” Head Coach Brandon Holloway said.
After a tough conference loss to Franklin Dec. 21, the Bears had a break for the holidays before traveling to play in McDowell’s Holiday Tournament.
Pisgah struggled in the first round against Community School of Davidson Dec. 29, finishing with its smallest point total of the season in a 52-38 loss.
However, the Bears answered by gritting out a 52-48 victory over McDowell the following evening.
“The McDowell game, we had to get back to just focusing defensively and it paid off because we still struggled offensively, but our defense came up with enough stops in crucial moments to be able to finish it off,” Holloway said.
After jumping out to a 12-3 lead by the end of the first quarter, Pisgah was outscored 19-7 in the second and trailed 22-19. The second half was back-and-forth and ended with the teams knotted up at 42.
The Bears hit 7-of-8 free throws in the fourth quarter and overtime and got key stops to come away with the momentum-building win.
Sophomore wing Alyssa Smith led Pisgah with 16 points on three three-pointers along with seven rebounds against McDowell while senior wing Ashtyn Frady also added 10 points and seven boards.
“That was a huge confidence booster for us at the free throw line,” Holloway said. “I think that momentum and confidence carried over to the West Henderson game.”
The Bears came out against the Falcons with a press defense that led to several early turnovers that Pisgah converted into points. Holloway also went to his bench often on Tuesday as 11 players entered the game, nine scored, and three reached double-figures.
“It was an up-and-down game. Our shooting was better, it wasn’t great, but the rotations and having the bench play last night was huge in our success,” Holloway said.
Pisgah built a 30-18 lead by halftime and protected it in the second half, emerging with the 56-46 win to improve to 7-4 overall and 2-1 in the Mountain Seven.
Senior wing Emma Deaver led the Bears with 14 points while Smith and sophomore point guard Dot Mills contributed 10 apiece. Frady also chipped in eight.
Next up for Pisgah is a trip across Haywood County for the first of two rivalry matchups with Tuscola on Friday. The varsity girls are set to tipoff at 6:30 p.m.
“I’ve coached in this county for 21 years and been a part of this rivalry. It never gets boring,” Holloway said. “It’s always just as intense. You love to see the communities come out and support the two schools.”