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Lady Bears basketball on to second round of state

Mar. 1—The Pisgah girls basketball team opened up the 2024 state playoffs with a resounding 47-20 win over the Rockingham County Lady Cougars in Canton.

"We came out and this time of year everybody you play is going to be a solid team," Pisgah coach Brandon Holloway said. "A lot of these teams are very unfamiliar."

While the final result was a dominant Lady Bears victory, things did not start out that way. After one quarter, Pisgah led 11-8.

A lot of that came down to the offensive struggles. Pisgah struggled to hit a shot, including missing multiple free throws early on.

"Our girls came out and were very amped up to start the game, maybe a little too much," Holloway said.

The team continued to play strong defense and believe in their offense, something they've done all season.

"We talk all the time about offense isn't always going to be there," Holloway said. "One thing that can never fail is the effort and intensity we bring on defense. Eventually, we're going to have a run where the shots start to fall."

This season, Pisgah had fielded a very young team. For much of the year, there has just been one senior taking the floor.

That would normally be a disadvantage, but this year, it allowed the team to mature quickly.

On the other end of the court, the Lady Cougars had an even younger lineup. The visitors had just four upperclassmen in total on the roster.

"Still having one senior out there definitely gave us an advantage," Holloway said. "These girls play with a relentless effort. They're going 100 miles per hour for the whole game."

Pisgah's girls have had a lot of growing up recently. The team has won its last seven games, including a Mountain 7 Tournament championship game against West Henderson.

"They have a lot of confidence right now," Holloway said.

The second quarter saw the momentum start to swing.

Part of that was due to the defensive effort of the Lady Bears. Pisgah was getting a huge number of blocks, including four first-half blocks from senior Dot Mills.

"They have a really solid, tall post girl and they like to get it inside," Holloway said. "We did a good job of collapsing in the paint and being active and disrupting a lot of shots. We made it tough for them to be able to score inside. It goes to how they've bought into the whole defense and not just one dimension of it."

Pisgah went into the halftime break with a 23-15 lead.

Then, the floodgates opened up.

'Coming back in and settling down, understanding who they're playing — it shows the maturity of these girls," Holloway said. "It allowed us to jump out to a big start in that third quarter."

In the third quarter, the Lady Bears shut out their opponents, outscoring Rockingham County 16-0 to go to the fourth quarter with a 39-15 lead.

From there, Pisgah put the game on ice, bleeding the clock and taking the victory home.

Now, the Lady Bears prepare for a tough road test. They'll make the 173-mile trip from Canton to Winston-Salem to face the Oak Grove Grizzlies.

The team is seeded No. 4 in the western side of the 3A bracket. On Tuesday, they defeated Erwin 62-41 to book their ticket to the second round.

"It's going to be a lot of grinding in these next 48 hours of watching as much of game film as we can," Holloway said. "We played them in a game this summer in Winston Salem and played well against them. We've got to go out and play our game and find some things in their's that we can go out and attack and create some opportunities for us."