The Pisgah varsity girls basketball team has booked another trip to the Northeast Regional.
No. 2-ranked Pisgah used scoring flurries at the end of the first half and to start the second half to propel itself to a 72-41 Class 2A Northeast Sub-regional win over visiting Sand Rock Monday afternoon at Pisgah High School.
The win advances Pisgah (21-6) to the Northeast Regional for the 22nd time in school history — it’s the most appearances in Northeast Regional history — and for the 21st time in Carey Ellison’s 25 seasons as head coach.
Pisgah, which won the last three Class 3A state championships, plays No. 5 Midfield in the Class 2A Northeast Regional semifinals on Thursday. Because of changes to the postseason format caused by COVID-19 restrictions, Pisgah’s regional semifinal game will be played at Midfield High School instead of at Jacksonville State University.
“It’s a weird regional with us having to go (on the road),” Ellison said. “We’ve got to be mentally tough to go on the road and get it done. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s not supposed to be.”
The regional semifinal winner advances to play in the regional finals at JSU on Feb. 25 (9 a.m.).
The win was Pisgah’s 48th straight home victory. The Eagles have not lost on their home court since December 2016.
Kallie Tinker sank five 3-pointers and scored 16 of her team-high 19 points in the second half for the Eagles, who made 11 3-pointers. Molly Heard totaled 17 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and five steals for Pisgah while Bella Bobo had 11 points, three assists and five rebounds and Kennedy Barron had eight points and six rebounds.
Lanie Henderson scored 13 points and Haley Grace Lisenbee added 10 for Sand Rock (16-13).
Pisgah, which opened the game on an 8-0 scoring run, led 12-7 after one quarter and was in front 22-15 late in the second quarter when it went on 12-0 run to close the half. Bobo hit two 3-pointers, a layup and a free throw and Heard converted a three-point play to give the Eagles a 34-15 halftime lead.
The Eagles then opened the third quarter with a 13-2 run, capped by Tinker’s 3-pointer that gave Pisgah a 47-17 advantage. Tinker’s fourth trey of the third quarter had Pisgah in front 53-29 lead entering the final quarter.
“We played well. Our defense was better than it has been in,” Ellison said. “Offensively, we were balanced. Just solid all around.”