Thanks to wins over East Burke and West Henderson in their last two matchups, the Bears will look to carry the momentum of a two-game win streak into Friday night’s Haywood County Clash against Tuscola.

“Anytime we get with them it’s going to be a battle. It’s kind of like Carolina-Duke,” PHS Head Coach Jonathan Whitson said. “All records go out the window. Our guys know their guys and their guys know our guys, so we expect a hard-fought game.”

The Bears dropped their first game of McDowell’s Holiday Tournament, falling to Community School of Davidson 62-40 on Dec. 29 after an eight-day break since a tough home loss to Franklin. Whitson said his team came out flat and struggled offensively, scoring their least amount of points in a game all season.

“The good thing about a tournament is, most times, you get a second chance the next night. We changed up some stuff in our lineup that second game and it was definitely a good game,” Whitson said.

Pisgah responded by scrapping out a 71-70 victory over East Burke the following evening.

The Bears built a 41-36 lead at halftime but the Cavaliers remained within striking distance. East Burke outscored Pisgah 23-17 in the third and took a one-point lead heading into the fourth.

“We found ourselves down four points with a minute to go,” Whitson said. “Jake Lowery hit a three that brought us within one and then Caden Robinson got fouled and hit two free throws to put us up.”

Whitson was proud of Lowery, a freshman, for stepping up in such a big spot to help the Bears emerge with a tight victory. The clutch triple was Lowery’s third of the game as he finished with 14 points and four assists in the win.

Robinson, a junior wing, led the Bears with 30 points, connecting on four threes in the contest and pouring in seven in the decisive fourth quarter. Robinson also snatched 10 boards, dished three assists and earned two steals.

Back in Mountain Seven action on Tuesday night at West Henderson, the Bears notched a 66-58 victory over the Falcons.

“That’s a very well-coached, good team. We knew it was going to be tough, especially going on the road,” Whitson said. “We knew what we had to do and the guys bought into it. We came out strong that first quarter, held them to eight points, and I felt like that kind of set the tone for the rest of the game.”

Pisgah held a seven-point halftime lead before the Falcons fought back to tie it in the third, but the Bears answered right back and led by five at 42-37 heading into the final frame.

A high-scoring fourth quarter saw West Henderson briefly take a two-point lead before Pisgah freshman guard Sawyer Belue splashed a triple to put the Bears back on top.

Senior guard Logan Free also got hot in the fourth to help Pisgah close it out, hitting a pair of threes to finish with 10 of his 13 total points in the fourth. With the Bears holding a four-point advantage with a minute left, Free got loose in the corner and knocked down a dagger three to make it a three-possession game late to help Pisgah hold on.

Robinson led the way with another double-double of 23 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and two steals. Belue totaled 14 points, five boards, three assists and two steals.

Pisgah’s (6-5, 2-1) focus now shifts to the rivalry matchup against Tuscola (4-7, 0-3) on Friday in Waynesville. The varsity boys game is set to tipoff at 7:30 p.m.

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