The Pisgah varsity girls basketball team kept its quest for a fourth straight state championship alive with an impressive regional semifinal win.
The No. 2-ranked Eagles outscored No. 5 Midfield 12-5 over the final two-plus minutes to defeat the Patriots 69-62 in the Class 2A Northeast Regional semifinals win Thursday night at Midfield High School near Birmingham.
“It was a fun one,” said Pisgah head coach Carey Ellison. “It was a crazy atmosphere, a playoff-type atmosphere, a lot of energy in there, nothing like we’ve played in this season. You’d have thought it was full (of fans). It was so loud. It was hard to communicate. We had good leadership on the floor and our girls did a good job of blocking out the noise and making enough plays to (win).”
It was the second straight season that the Eagles have defeated Midfield in the regional semifinals. Pisgah improved to 5-0 all-time against the Patriots. Three of the previous four times the Eagles defeated Midfield, they ultimately won a state championship.
Pisgah (22-6) would like to keep that trend going as it moves on to a Class 2A Northeast Regional championship game matchup with either top-ranked Spring Garden or Altamont. The regional title game is Thursday, Feb. 25 at 9 a.m. at Jacksonville State University’s Pete Mathews Coliseum.
It's Pisgah’s 18th regional championship game in 22 all-time regional appearances since the AHSAA instituted the regional format in 1994.
Against Midfield, Pisgah led 19-13 after one quarter and 31-29 at halftime before going to the fourth quarter with a 48-45 lead.
Pisgah played the first four-plus minutes with its top-two leading scorers for the season, Molly Heard and Kallie Tinker, on the bench with four fouls. But in their absence, Bella Bobo, Karlee Holcomb and Kennedy Barron scored three points each and Lila Kate Wheeler scored two to keep the Eagles in front. Midfield eventually did tie the game at 57-all with two-minutes remaining, but Heard, back in the game, sank the go-ahead 3-pointer. Heard then made 6 of 8 free throws down the stretch to help the Eagles secure the victory.
“We went into the fourth quarter with our two leading scorers on the bench and we extended our lead in that first four minutes. That was a big four minutes for our team,” Ellison said. “When we got Molly and Kallie back in, Midfield had started a comeback, but Molly made a big 3-pointer. A lot of girls made some big plays for us.”
Heard finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals for Pisgah while Tinker had 15 points, Bobo had 11 points and two assists, Barron had a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds, Holcomb had six points and Wheeler had three assists.
Markia Smith and Dominique Owens scored 20 points each for Midfield.