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PIsgah Lady Bears advance to Sweet 16, set up playoff rematch

Mar. 1—The Pisgah Lady Bears are Sweet 16 bound once again after a 62-49 road win over No. 4 Oak Grove.

"We're soaking it up and enjoying the moment," Pisgah head coach Brandon Holloway said. "I'm so excited about the way these girls came down and played. They continue to impress me with their effort and focus on detail and attitude. Every time they step on the court they expect to win."

Pisgah took the lead to start the game and never gave it up. Holloway said that was because the team got in their offensive groove early, something they haven't done very often in recent weeks.

"It was the first game in several games that we made shots early to give us that confidence," he said. "We always know we have a strong defense that will keep us in games, but we were able to get that offensively confidence early."

That was in large part due to the performance of sophomore Chandler Lowery. The guard led the Lady Bears in scoring and rebounding on Friday night, scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Holloway said throughout this season, senior guard Dot Mills has taken Lowery under her wing and that influence is paying dividends now.

"She was huge," he said about the sophomore. "You know Dot is going to give you that every night, but to see the maturity and growth of Chandler this second half of the season has been phenomenal. She is playing with a level of confidence and energy that is unmatched by the other team."

Now, Pisgah looks to keep the storybook season going. After losing three seniors to injury, the Bears could have rolled over and given up, but that's not in the DNA of the program.

In recent weeks, Holloway earned his 400th career win, Mills reached 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds and assists and the team won the Mountain 7 Conference Tournament.

Now, with eight straight wins under their belt, Pisgah gets the chance to keep the story going with a game against No. 5 Ben L. Smith.

Last season, the team from Greensboro knocked Pisgah out of the state playoffs in the Sweet 16. This season, Pisgah gets a chance to avenge that loss in the same round of the tournament.

"I'm excited. As soon as we walked into the locker room, the girls knew. They wanted it," Holloway said. "As soon as this game was over and we knew we were advancing, they knew they had an opportunity to go down there and compete again."

The Golden Eagles are a tough game, however. The team is 26-2 this season, having won their last 16 games, including a 60-45 win over Robinson on Friday night to punch their ticket to the Sweet 16.

"They're a top-tier team, but this is tournament time and anything can happen," Holloway said. "The great thing about this time is that we have four days to get ready. We get a little more rest and get a little more detail with our game plan."