Pressley clutch, Pisgah advances

By Rhonda Byrd | Mar 07, 2014
Photo by: Kelly Boone Pisgah’s Mariah Lewis, 33, gets fouled in the paint during Wednesday night’s regional semifinal.

GREENSBORO — In crucial moments of a game when the outcome hangs in the balance, big time players step up and make big time plays.

Wednesday night was senior point guard Sheridan Pressley’s moment to step up and make several big time plays for the Pisgah varsity girls basketball team.

Pressley made five of six free throws in the final 21.1 seconds to guide the Black Bears to a 50-45 win in the girls’ semifinal of the NCHSAA Class 3-A West Regional at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center.

“We knew Stephanie Watts was their best shooter and she was hard to contain,” said Pressley. “It took a collective team effort to get this win. At the end of the game, I want the ball in my hands.”

The No. 2 seed Black Bears (28-1), which have won 24 consecutive games, will meet No.1 seed Hickory (28-0) in Saturday’s 3-A Girls West Regional championship at 2 p.m. in the Special Events Center.

Pressley, who was 9-for-10 from the free throw line, finished with a team-high 18 points for the Black Bears, while sophomore Brooklyn Allen (11 rebounds) scored 17 and junior Sydney Singleton chipped in nine, including a trey from the left side with 1:47 left in the game to give Pisgah a 43-42 lead.  Senior Mariah Lewis only scored four points but she had pulled down a blue-collar 12 rebounds.

Weddington led 10-7 at the end of the first quarter and extended its lead to 12-7 in the early moments of the second quarter. The Black Bears, however, put together a 10-0 run to take a 17-12 lead with 4:46 left.

However, momentum quickly shifted back to Weddington when the Warriors finished the first half with a 7-0 run and took a 19-17 lead into halftime.

Pisgah could not get back the lead, trailing 33-28 going into the final eight minutes and even faced an eight point deficit (37-29) with 5:31 left to go in regulation.

Pressley, Lewis and Allen rallied Pisgah for a 21-8 run for the remainder of the game to seal the girls’ second consecutive berth into the regional championship game.

“Second time this season that we played a top-ranked opponent and were down,” said Pisgah Head Coach Brandon Holloway. “And in both situations, Pressley and Lewis  have found a way to rally this team back and win the game. This team has so much heart. Against a talented opponent like Weddington, they kept fighting back and found a way to pull this out.”

Watts finished with a game-high 26 points for Weddington.

“I had my hands full with Watts,” said Allen. “I forced a lot of bad shots against her in the first half. But coach got me to settle own at halftime. It all fell into place from there.”