Pisgah girls ‘Dean Dome’ boundBlack Bears beat Thomasville to win 2-A West Regional title, will play Kinston for state championship on Saturday at UNC
GREENSBORO — Without a doubt, football is king in Canton. But after Saturday, without a doubt, basketball is now queen.
Especially after what the Pisgah varsity girls basketball team accomplished.
After a 24-year drought for regional championships, the No. 2 seed Pisgah girls ended its near quarter century of frustration, thanks in large part to freshman Brooklyn Allen, by knocking off No. 3 seed Thomasville, 63-57, in the Class 2-A West Regional at UNC-Greensboro’s Fleming Arena Saturday afternoon.
“I am kind of speechless, it has been an awesome ride with a group of girls for the last month and a half,” said Pisgah Head Coach Brandon Holloway. “The girls have overcome a lot of odds and molded together into being a very talented and hard working team. And I might add a very over-achieving team. I can’t say enough about the mental and physical toughness that the girls displayed tonight against a very talented Thomasville team.”
The win improves the Black Bears to 26-6 overall and sends Pisgah into Saturday’s (March 16) state 2-A championship game, which tips off at noon, against East champion Kinston in the Dean Dome on the campus of the University of North Carolina.
Allen finished with a team-high 18 points, including eight huge points in the fourth quarter. For her performance in the regional final, the freshman guard was also named by the media as the West Regional’s most valuable player.
But Allen wasn’t Pisgah’s only heroine as junior forward Mariah Lewis had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, junior guard Sheridan Pressley pumped in 13 points with had six steals and senior guard Taylor Galyean scored 13 points.
Pressley, Galyean and Lewis were also named by the media to the all-regional team along with Thomasville’s Jashana Thomas (21 points) and Joselyn Spires (17 points).
For three exciting and hotly-contested quarters, the Bulldogs and Black Bears were tied at 43 going into the final eight minutes.
The difference in the fourth quarter was Pisgah listened and executed Coach Holloway’s message in the huddle.
“I just told them in order for us to have a chance, we have to be the better defensive team, do all the dirty work and rebound,” said Holloway. “I also told them now is the time to be strong and encourage each other, because you are going to be tired and they are going to be tired. The team that pushes each other is going to be the team that prevails down the stretch.”
In the fourth and deciding quarter, Pisgah did out rebounded the Bulldogs, 15-6, and, finished with a 39-26 advantage for the game.
Also, Galyean and Allen combined to score three baskets in a 6-2 run to start the fourth quarter to give Pisgah a 49-45 lead with 4:51 remaining.
Because the Black Bears did the dirty work on defense, Thomasville managed to score only one basket over the next two minutes as the Black Bears continued to pad their lead, 54-47, with 3:13 left.
However, Thomasville’s Kayla Johnson and Coleman hit back-to-back treys to shrink Pisgah’s lead to a point, 54-53. But Holloway’s girls answered and finished off Thomasville with a 6-0 run over the next 50 seconds to extend their advantage to 60-53 with 68 seconds left in the game.
In the fourth quarter alone, Pisgah was 10-of-12 from the charity stripe and shot 74.1 percent for the entire game. Thomasville on the other hand only shot 43.8 percent from the free throw line.
The Black Bears started the regional final with a 14-2 run, but Thomasville battled back into the game and trailed Pisgah at halftime by only three points, 28-25.
“All season, it has been somebody different to step up in every big game,” said Holloway. “Throughout the tournament, as well as (tonight), every one stepped up their game. Lewis had several big rebounds to stop their momentum, Allen made some big plays. The list goes on and on.”