Pisgah boys basketball ended its season with a big conference win Tuesday night, topping Brevard 71-59.
Trent Devlin led the Bears with 20 points, followed by Matthew Roberts with 19, Devan Dodgin with 15 and Max Wait with nine. Pisgah finishes the season tied for second in the conference with Smoky Mountain; a tie-breaking procedure will be determined Wednesday.
“It’s a tough place to play,” said head coach Jonathan Whitson. “Hats off to Brevard, their fans were really good. You knew it was going to be a tough place to play, you just have to weather some storms. It was a game of runs. We got a couple breaks going our way and Max nailed down two huge 3s back-to-back that just pushed it up. That started the run there. We had confidence in our defense and we knew that our defense could turn into our offense. We just had to keep pressing.”
The Bears got off to a quick start in this one, scoring the game’s first six points and taking an 11-4 lead a little over four minutes in.
After Brevard cut Pisgah’s lead to three, Max Wait drilled a shot from 3-point land to push it back to six with about a minute and a half left in the opening frame. The Bears took a 16-13 lead into the first break.
Roughly halfway through the second quarter, the Bears continued to play solid basketball at both ends of the court, pushing their lead to seven points.
With Pisgah up by six with about a minute and a half left in the second quarter, a Bears’ triple made it a nine-point game, but Brevard immediately answered with a 3 of its own. Fouls hurt the Bears in the half’s final minute, with four free throws allowing the Blue Devils to trim Pisgah’s lead to two at 35-33 heading the locker room.
Brevard took its first lead of the game with a 3-pointer in the first minute of the third quarter, and that sparked a 7-0 run that saw the Blue Devils take a 40-35. The Bears kept their composure, however; and answered right back with a 5-0 run to tie it at 40.
After Brevard picked up back-to-back finishes in transition to take a four-point lead, the Bears tied it back up at 44 on a three-point play by Devan Dodgin. Dodgin ended up turning that into a personal 6-0 run, hitting one free throw after getting fouled on a lay up attempt, missing the second but grabbing his own board and laying it in to put the Bears up 47-44. The Blue Devils hit two free throws with under five seconds left, sending Pisgah to the fourth quarter up by one.
After the teams traded buckets to open the final frame, Wait came up massive with 3s on back to back possessions to put Pisgah up by seven at 55-48 with 6:10 to play. Roberts then hit a layup to extend Pisgah’s run to 8-0 and push the lead to nine.
With 4:03 to play, Pisgah led by 11 for its first double-digit lead of the game thanks to lay ups by Roberts on back-to-back possessions. Another 3 for the Bears with three minutes and change left made it 64-50 Pisgah.
“We knew it was our last conference game before the tournament,” Devlin said. “We wanted to come out and play as hard as we could, get open shots. We’ve been keying our point guard to shoot more and he made two tonight. We just wanted to be aggressive and box out. We had 10 defensive rebounds the first half. We just wanted to do well on defense.”
The Blue Devils kept trying to claw back in it, however, and picked up seven unanswered to make it a seven-point game with under two minutes left. That was as close as it got, however, as the Bears salted away a big, season-ending win.
Next up for Pisgah is the Mountain Six Tournament, where the Bears will look to continue their late-season momentum.
“I told them, I said, ‘Guys, you’re going to have to buy into a team mentality, to the team defense if you want to get over that hump,” Whitson said. “They did, and now we finished second in the conference. We’re pretty good with where we want to be. Our eyes were on the regular-season conference championship but we’re going to be happy with second. We had a chance to win that, it just didn’t fall our way this time. But so far, great season. We finished that season in second place and now we start a new season tomorrow going forward. We’ll see what we can do in the conference tournament.”