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Pisgah girls close out regular season with senior night win

Feb. 14—The Pisgah girls basketball team earned a dominant victory Tuesday night in Canton to close out the regular season.

The Lady Bears walked out as 64-21 winners over North Henderson on Pisgah's senior night.

"I'm super excited we were able to get a win on senior night. It was a special night," Pisgah girls coach Brandon Holloway said. "Fortunately for Dot [Mills] and Isabel [Hardin], the two that are still healthy, were able to get out there and finish the season out with a win."

It's been a rough season for the Pisgah girls in terms of the injury bug. Seniors Elizabeth Smith, Whitney Boone and Karlie Robinson have all missed significant time this year. Boone played just nine games, Robinson appeared in 11 and Smith appeared in 15 of the 23 games.

"Whether they were injured or not, they continued to be at practices, come to games, support, lead, coach from the sidelines," Holloway said. "They have been instrumental to the growth of the younger girls. That's a big reason we've had success this year."

While the three were not able to participate in the game, they were still recognized before the game. During starting lineup introductions, all three were introduced as honorary starters.

After that, the five seniors took the court for a ceremonial tip. The ball was passed down where Whitney Boone, crutches and all, was waiting to hit a layup.

"It was a bittersweet moment. Knowing what all they've done for this program, what all they've invested over the last four years — it makes our program special," Holloway said. "People don't realize that leadership starts with our seniors and that torch gets handed down from one to the next. This group has taken that torch and carried it well."

The first quarter started out slow, with the teams combining for 13 points. Pisgah led 8-5 after one frame.

Things took a major turn in favor of Pisgah in the second quarter.

The Lady Bears outscored the Lady Knights 24-6 in the second quarter to go into halftime up 32-11.

The third quarter started with more domination from Pisgah. By the final minute of the third quarter, a running clock was activated with Pisgah leading 59-19.

A big part of the dominance came from the defensive efforts. In total, Pisgah turned the ball over just 12 times, while forcing North into a whopping 31 turnovers.

"The good thing with these young girls is that they play with a reckless abandon on defense. They know we're still maturing and coming along offensively, but their effort and focus on details defensively has helped us be successful," Holloway said. "For us to be successful, we've got to play with a fearless effort on defense and with great passion. These girls take pride in the defensive side. They take every possession personal."

During the fourth quarter, Hardin and Mills were brought back onto the court. The two were checked out together a few minutes later to thunderous applause, giving the seniors one last ovation.

Mills had another dominant game. She led the team in scoring, rebounding, assists and blocks. Her final stat line was 16 points, six rebounds, seven assists, four steals and three blocks.

"Every night that I get to coach her is another night that I don't take for granted," Holloway said about his senior guard. "Having her on the floor and seeing her doing something she loves, something that God has gifted her with, it's a blessing for our crowd. It's an honor as a coach. I'm thankful that I get to do it a few more times before we wrap it up this season."

Now, the Lady Bears head to the conference tournament. That kicks off on Friday with a home game against East Henderson.

"We take it one game at a time from here on," Holloway said. "A new season starts Friday. We want to go undefeated in this next season. To do that, we have to win the first one."

The Lady Eagles sit at the bottom of the Mountain 7 with a 2-10 conference record. Pisgah won both meetings this year by a combined score of 120-61.