Early Christmas present for the Pisgah boysLate buckets by Pressley and Allen key girls to victory
CANTON — The Pisgah varsity boys basketball team got an early Christmas gift Friday night when the Black Bears upset undefeated Franklin, 49-47, behind the efforts of junior guard Jessie Anderson’s 14 points and senior backup center Christian Bryant’s 10 points.
“I went out there and did my job and did what I was coached to do,” said Bryant. “Coach (Casey) Kruk had a good feeling and I did too going into this game. The win over Franklin was huge, but getting it before Christmas makes it a even better.”
The home crowd and the playoff atmosphere helped the Black Bears and bothered the Panthers, especially in the second half.
Pisgah finally put together two good halves and Franklin missed eight foul shots in the final 16 minutes of action.
“At the very beginning of the year we talked about team and how you help the other guy out,” said Kruk. “Our kids have bought into that and they from day one and have always had heart, they always had that ‘team first’ concept, they always had courage. But what they did not have quite yet was the confidence. I think what they found their confidence tonight because they became a very good team.
Pisgah, which improved to 4-3 overall and 2-0 in the WNC Athletic Conference, started off slow as Franklin scored the first six points. By the end of the first half, the Black Bears trailed, 10-5.
However, Pisgah came alive in the second quarter and sliced the Franklin lead to a bucket, 23-21, by halftime.
In the first six games of the season, Pisgah has played well in the first half and struggled in the second. But against the Panthers, the Black Bears got a confidence boost when they went on a 14-7 run and Bryant scored the final four points to give Pisgah a 39-32 lead entering the final eight minutes.
Early in the fourth quarter, Pisgah kept its seven point lead early in the game, until Franklin put together an 8-3 run to pull within two, 45-43, with 1:40 left in the game.
But Pisgah halted the run and sealed the deal by employing a version of the infamous four-corner offense.
Also for Pisgah, sophomore center Thomas Tatham finished with eight points, junior guard Hunter Wike chipped in seven.
In the JV boys game, Pisgah stay undefeated with a 55-40 victory. Noah Hicks scored 13 and Ben Johnson had 12 to lead the Black Bears.
Pisgah will have only one game this week when they will host North Buncombe on Friday.
Pisgah 51, Franklin 49
CANTON — Junior Sheridan Pressley and freshman Brooklyn Allen hit the last three shots to give the Pisgah varsity girls basketball team a huge 51-49 win over Franklin Friday night in a WNCAC contest.
The Black Bears improved to 4-3 overall and 2-0 in the WNCAC.
The visiting Panthers led from opening tip until 1:33 left in the game before Pressley, who finished with 20 points, knocked down a pair of free throws to tie the game at 47.
On the ensuing possession, Pisgah’s defense denied Franklin the go-ahead basket and with 32 seconds in the game, Pressley drove the baseline and dropped a 12-foot jumper, giving the Black Bears’ their first lead, 49-47.
But as Franklin in-bounded the ball down the court, Allen intercepted the ball at mid-court, went directly to the basket and scored on an easy layup to give the Black Bears a four point lead, 51-47, with 17 seconds left in the game.
“This was a really big win for us because we have started off a little rocky and we just stepped up to the plate tonight,” said Pressley. “I think tonight gave us a lot of confidence and now we just need to keep improving everyday.”
Joining Pressley in double figures was senior Taylor Galyean, who finished with 15 points and hit some key baskets in the final quarter to spark Pisgah’s comeback effort.
Pisgah started cold from the floor and at the end of the first quarter, Franklin led 21-9. The Black Bears shooting heated up in the second quarter and trailed by only six, 27-21, at the break.
Pisgah out-scored the Panthers, 7-6, in the third quarter to cut the deficit to five points, 33-28.
“We have taken great strides since the Hayesville game getting to play the way we need to play,” said Pisgah Head Coach Brandon Holloway. “We have a lot of new girls on this team and it does take a lot to build chemistry.
“We just need to grow and learn each others' role and getting past the sicknesses, the injuries and getting everyone healthily. Taylor and Sheridan both stepped up like leaders should do. I told them before the game that Franklin is loaded and if we can stay close, not look at the scoreboard and just play hard, at the end, we can and will make a run.”
Pressley was a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe.
The Black Bears are off for exams and will host North Buncombe Friday night, Dec. 21.