Mountaineers edge Black Bears in boys hoops rivalry in final secondsWesthusing (23 points) leads Tuscola to key win over Pisgah
CANTON — In Friday night’s WNCAC boys basketball showdown, Tuscola rode the hot-shooting of senior guard Aaron Westhusing, who scored a game-high 23 points, in a 54-52 win over Pisgah.
The win improves the Mountaineers to 4-0 in the WNCAC standings and 12-2 overall, while the Black Bears slip to 7-5 and 2-1 in the conference.
Since becoming the head boys basketball coach, Tuscola’s Nathan Messer improved his overall coaching record to 5-3 against rival Pisgah.
Despite the shooting struggles of senior Logan Hardin, who finished with only 12 points, the battle-tested Mountaineers led after the first quarter, 10-7, and stretched the advantage to 28-21 by halftime.
But in the second half, junior Jesse Anderson, who finished with a team-high 16 points, led the Black Bears’ comeback efforts as Pisgah shrunk the deficit to five (38-33) going into the final quarter.
The Black Bears went on a 4-1 run and with 18.1 seconds left to pull with a point, 53-52 with 18. 1 seconds left. But Pisgah had to foul and hacked Hardin with 12.8 seconds left in the game. But Hardin made the front end of the two bonus free throws to give Tuscola a two-point advantage (54-52).
However, Pisgah junior Hunter Wike’s long-range 3-point jumper at the buzzer missed.
Tuscola’s Thomas Hay was denied his 12th double-double of the season, despite the senior pulling down a career-high 24 boards to go with his eight points.
Sophomore Thomas Tatham and junior McKinley Brown finished with nine points for Pisgah, while senior Dalton Scott and Wike chipped in seven points each.
In the JV boys game, Pisgah defeated Tuscola.
This week, the Pisgah boys will host North Henderson on Tuesday (Jan. 8), play at West Henderson Wednesday (Jan. 9) and at Smoky Mountain Friday (Jan. 11).
The first-place Tuscola boys will host WNCAC games with West Henderson on Tuesday and East Henderson on Friday.