Black Bears beat Concord, wins sectional championshipPisgah boys to play No. Forsyth in first regional semifinal since 2008
CANTON — It was raucous inside the standing room only crowd in the Bears’ Den until Concord senior Connor Burchfield launched a trey with one second on the clock.
Then it went eerily silent as the ball sailed through the air toward the basket.
When the final shot bounced off the rim, Pisgah senior Jesse Anderson leaped and came down with a defensive rebound.
As the buzzer sounded, a celebration erupted on the court as the No. 4 seed Black Bears defeated the No. 5 seed Spiders, 66-64, to win the NCHSAA Class 3-A West Boys Basketball Sectional IV championship Friday night.
“I knew this was going to be a tough game,” said Pisgah Head Coach Casey Kruk. “Concord is a well coached team with a lot of talented players. I’m very proud of our team. They fought and battled in every possession like a Pisgah team should.”
Pisgah improved to 25-3. The Black Bears will make their first appearance since 2008 in the Class 3-A West Regional semifinals when they meet No. 8 seed North Forsyth on Friday, 8:30 p.m. in the Special Events Arena next to the Greensboro Coliseum.
North Forsyth outscored Jesse Carson, 94-91, in Friday’s Sectional III championsho. The other West Regional semifinal (7 p.m.) is No. 2 seed Morganton Freedom and No. 3 seed Weddington.
Through the first three quarters, everything was clicking for Pisgah, leading Concord by nine points, 55-46, going into the final eight minutes.
However, in high school playoff basketball, nothing is secure, especially a nine point lead with eight minutes left to play.
The Spiders spun their web and stunned the Black Bears with a 14-0 run to begin the fourth quarter, taking their first lead of the game, 60-55, with 3:44 left in the fourth quarter.
Kruk had no choice, but to call a timeout and regroup his team.
“That run more or less rattled our kids,” said Kruk. “I had to call the timeout to settle them down, refocus them to fight back and I made a point to them to get back to playing our game.”
Coming out of the timeout, Pisgah junior Cole Anderson halted Concord’s run with back-to-back baskets to slice the deficit to one point, 60-59, with 2:48 left.
“I got myself refocused during the timeout,” said Anderson. “We knew we needed to go back on the attack and so when I got the ball in my hands, I attacked the basket and was able to knock down a jumper and a layup to get us back in the game.”
After a defensive stop on the ensuing possession, (Jesse) Anderson scored on a baseline jumper to increase the run to 6-0 and also give the Black Bears a 61-60 lead with 1:51 remaining in regulation.
“Playing in Pisgah’s gym was like playing in Cameron Indoor Stadium,” said Concord Head Coach George Walker. “It was an electric atmosphere (tonight). “Pisgah was physical and tough. We couldn’t set screens. We couldn’t go by them. They bumped us all night; they rode us all night. Pisgah’s kids fed off that incredible energy in the gym.”
The Black Bears padded its lead (64-60) to the delight of the home crowd with 37 seconds left when sophomore Peyton Truesdale scored on a old-fashion three-point play.
Burchfield, a William & Mary commit, ended the run with a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left to cut the Pisgah lead to 64-62.
Pisgah had a chance to ice the game from the charity stripe in the final 17 seconds but could not. The Black Bears made only two of their final six free throws.
In the first visit to the line, Truesdale made the back end of the double bonus to give Pisgah a 65-62 lead with 17 seconds left.
Concord freshman Ty-Shon Alexander followed with a uncontested layup with 11 seconds to make the score 65-64 in favor of the Black Bears.
(Jesse) Anderson got fouled immediately and missed both free throws but managed to grab his own rebound and got hacked, sending him to the line again with 6.3 seconds left to play.
After missing the front end of the double bonus, Anderson made the second to give Pisgah a two point lead (66-64).
“My arc was off,” said Anderson. “The three previous free throws I was not focused on my form. I was just shooting and hoping it went in.”
Concord (23-4), which was without a timeout to set their final play, put the ball in Burchfield’s hand.
As Paul Harvey often said, “And now, you know the rest of the story.”
Leading Pisgah was (Jesse) Anderson with a game-high 21 points. (Cole) Anderson chipped in 17, Truesdale added 16 and Thomas Tatham finished with seven points.
Burchfield led Concord with 15 points and Alexander added 13 points.
Pisgah, which committed 19 turnovers, shot 57 percent (24 -of-42) from the field and 14-of-24 at the foul line.
Pisgah led 16-10 at the end of the first quarter and 37-26 by halftime.