Black Bears look to finish what they startedPisgah girls have won 20 of its last 21 games
CANTON — The Pisgah varsity girls basketball team is out to prove a point — and to finish what it started.
After losing two of their three games at the Holiday on the Hardwood Tournament at Cherokee High School, the 6-5 Black Bears dug enough of a hole to be left for dead.
On their return to Pisgah High School, head coach Brandon Holloway held an impromptu team meeting to refocus his girls and the rest, well, is history.
After the meeting, his team has finished the second half of the season with a flurry, winning 20 of their last 21 games, picking up on the way the WNC Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles, and most importantly, took down Thomasville (63-57) in Saturday’s dramatic regional finals to punch their ticket into the state 2-A championship for the first time since 1989.
Which by the way was the last time Pisgah won a state (Class 3-A) girls basketball title.
“We have been a completely different team since that meeting,” said Coach Holloway in his postgame comments at the regional final. “We told the girls then and have preached it since, that every team goes through peaks and valleys. But the team that stands behind each other and encourages one another will prevail. We also redirected our focus after that meeting to playing better defense. But this team is special. They just find ways to win. We never rely on one player. It has been a total team effort to get to this point and it will take a total team effort to win the state championship.”
East champion Pisgah will seek to make it 21 wins in its last 22 games when the Black Bears (26-6) play the West champ Kinston (26-4) Vikings, which has won 17 games in a row, in the NCHSAA Class 2-A girls basketball championship game at noon Saturday in the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill.
While it has been 24 long years since a Pisgah girls basketball team has played in a state championship game, it’s the first time in Lenoir County history and Kinston High School history that a girls basketball team will play for a state title.
Sort of an odd twist for a county known for its boys basketball as the Kinston boys basketball program has made a total of 18 appearances in all four classication state championship games, winning eight titles, including 2-A crowns in 2010 and 2012.
But there are two reasons why the Vikings are making their first appearance in a state basketball championship game and they fall on the shoulders of senior Monique Lofton and junior Brittany Drumgoole, who was named the region’s Most Valuable Player in Saturday’s 56-37 win over Jordan-Matthews.
Saturday’s state championship game has all the makings to be an exciting contest. Both Pisgah and Kinston are hot teams with great players, great coaches and both have tremendous fans.