After losing its season opener at North Henderson, Pisgah boys basketball lost its first home game against Enka.
From the beginning of the game, it was clear that the Jets meant to bomb it from 3-point land as much as they could, and the strategy worked. Once Enka proved it could also convert from the free-throw line, the team held the Bears at Bay and ended up coming away with the 80-75 win.
Pisgah came out of the first quarter with a 27-18 lead, but after being held to just a combined 21 points through the second and third quarters, Enka was able to build a steady lead thanks largely to the team’s proficiency from beyond the arc.
“We knew coming in that they were going to shoot 3s,” said head coach Jonathan Whitson. “That’s what we practiced all day yesterday, running them off the three-point line.”
Whitson said he felt his players did a good job closing out on the Jets’ sharpshooters for the majority of the game.
“I felt overall we had hands in the face on the majority of the shots,” he said. “But we did lose them a couple times in transition. Hats off to them. They shot it and did what they’re supposed to do and that’s a good team, and they made plays when they needed to win it.”
The Bears’ game plan was to take the ball to the rim.
“Attack, attack attack,” Whitson said. “We knew we’d get to the free-throw line early and often, but we just didn’t. We only hit 42 percent.”
Not only did Pisgah go 16-for-48 from the line, the team missed some key free throws down the stretch while Enka was able to sink them.
“We just need to practice and get reps,” Whitson said.
Some of those free throws were missed by guards Korey Griffith and Devan Dodgin, who only have one practice under their belts after the school’s football team played a second-round playoff game last Friday. Griffith and Dodgin were the two of the team’s three leading scorers, and while Whitson didn’t want to dwell on the fact that the team has had little time to practice as a full unit, he admitted that he expects the team to grow significantly.
“The reality is we only had one practice as a team, and we spent most of that time prepping for this game,” he said.
Ultimately, Whitson said he has confidence in his team and looks forward to continue watching it make strides.
“Our goal is to get better every day, whether we’re in practice or we’re in a game,” he said.
“They played their hearts out,” he added. “They had their chances, but shooting 42 percent from the free throw line isn’t going to work.”
Pisgah hits the court again next week against Tuscola.