Pisgah girls, Tuscola boys reach WNCAC Tournament title games

Holloway's girls seek second consecutive tourney crown, Messer's boys win season series (2-1) over rival for only the second time since 2000
By Rhonda Byrd | Feb 16, 2017
Photo by: Bill Killillay Pisgah’s Carter Gibson, 21, gets fouled by Franklin’s Bekah Zoellner, 23, in the paint during action in Tuesday’s WNCAC Girls Basketball Tournament semifinal game at West Henderson High in Mills River.

MILLS RIVER — The Pisgah varsity girls basketball team tied Franklin for second place in the WNC Athletic Conference regular season standings. But the Black Bears lost the coin toss to the Panthers to break the tie and were awarded the No. 3 seed for the conference tournament.
However, Pisgah didn’t lose the WNCAC Tournament semifinal game with Franklin Tuesday night at West Henderson High School, soundly defeating the No. 2 seed Panthers, 60-44, to advance into Thursday night’s championship game with Smoky Mountain.
At press time, no results were available.
The Black Bears, who will be the conference’s top seed for the state 3-A playoffs (Smoky Mountain and Franklin will be seeded in the state 2-A playoffs), improved to 18-5 overall. Franklin slipped to 19-7.
After Franklin took a 14-11 lead after one quarter of action, which included Pisgah senior Maddie Webb scoring her 1,000th point of her career, the Black Bears took over for the final 24 minutes and took a 26-21 lead into halftime.
Webb finished with 21 points and raised her career points scored to 1,015.
Freshman Lani Woods sparked Pisgah’s rally in the second quarter by scoring eight of her game-high 22 points.
After halftime, Pisgah continued to pad its lead as the Black Bears outscored the Panthers in the third quarter, 19-12, to take a commanding 45-33 lead into the final eight minutes.
Pisgah also outscored Franklin in the paint, 36-18, and went to the free throw line 31 times compared to the Panthers’16.
Also scoring for Pisgah were Kristianna Sheehan and Jordan Creason with five points each, Emma Sorrells chipped in four and Carter Gibson had three points.


Boys Semifinal

Tuscola 59, Pisgah 55
MILLS RIVER — For only the second time since 2000, the Tuscola varsity boys basketball team won the series meeting against its county-rival Pisgah in Tuesday night’s WNCAC Basketball Tournament semifinal game at West Henderson High School.
Splitting the pair of regular season meetings, the No. 3 seed Mountaineers picked up their second win this season over the No. 2 seed and conference co-champion Black Bears with a 59-55 hotly-contested victory.
The win improved Tuscola to 17-9 and earned the Mountaineers a spot in the tourney championship game opposite of North Henderson Thursday night. At press time, no results were available.
Pisgah dropped to 15-7.
Tuscola bolted out to a 13-2 lead in the first quarter before Pisgah rallied with a 9-2 run to end the first eight minutes. Thanks to the hot outside shooting of senior Anthony Westhusing (2 treys and 7 points) and the dominant inside presence of sophomore Landon Henley (six points, six rebounds), the Mountaineers took a 32-27 lead into halftime.
Westhusing and Pisgah senior Trey Morgan tied for game-high scoring honors with 21 points each. Henley finished with a double-double, scoring 19 points and pulling down 14 rebounds.
In the second half, Pisgah rallied and cut the deficit to four points (43-39) heading into the fourth quarter and eventually tied the game at 55 with 31.8 seconds left in the game.
However, Westhusing nailed a 3-pointer from the corner with 17.4 seconds remaining and made 1-of-2 from the free throw line with 10.1 seconds left to seal the deal.
For Pisgah, senior Eli Long had 10 points, sophomore Zeke Long scored seven and junior Mason Herbert chipped in six.
Tuscola went to the free throw line 19 times, making 17, compared to Pisgah’s eight trips to the charity stripe, making six.
The Mountaineers were 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) from the 3-point line, while Pisgah was just 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) from beyond the arc.