NCHSAA Playoffs: Bulldogs eliminated by Pisgah
Sounds of celebratory singing could be heard echoing through the halls of UNC Greensboro’s Fleming Gym Saturday afternoon. Thomasville was unfortunately not part of it.
Pisgah kept the Lady Bulldogs from reaching their first state title game since 2005, punching their own ticket with a 63-57 victory in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2-A Western Regional finals.
“Hats off to Pisgah,” said Thomasville coach Brandon Staton. “That is a well-coached team and they just outplayed us in spurts. My girls had a tremendous season. I am proud of them for fighting consistently each and every night.”
The Lady Bulldogs were thrown off early, even before the game had started. They had to make a jersey change minutes before tip-off, then fell behind 16-4 with six minutes gone. But with a little more than three quarters still to be played, they eventually settled in and made it the kind of game fans were expecting.
While others were having a hard time getting going, Jashana Thomas was steady in her play, scoring 13 of her game-high 21 points first half. Her 3-pointer with a minute left second quarter trimmed the lead to five, and a pair of Christina Coleman free throws made it 28-25 at intermission.
Thomasville continued its comeback third quarter, pulling even on a Thomas free throw and taking its first lead of 40-38, on a fast break layup by Coleman. The Bears tied it up as the game moved to the fourth.
“We knew they would make a run,” said Pisgah coach Brandon Holloway. “Their guards are so athletic, long, quick. We knew they would not stop.”
Pisgah used a 10-4 run to begin the final stanza that left the Bulldogs winded. Down 53-47, THS was potentially facing its last four minutes of the season. But the fullcourt press that has gotten them this far worked a few more times.
Coleman tossed in a 3-pointer from the corner to start a rally. Timber Tate then stole the ball near the timeline, drove in and fed Kayla Johnson for the hoop and harm. The bonus free throw was true, leaving the Bulldogs back a point.
They had a shot for the lead after another forced turnover, but the 3-point attempt by Joslyn Spires missed.
Pisgah took the next six points, getting four free throws from Sheridan Pressley and a basket from regional MVP Brooklyn Allen. Having come back a couple times already, Thomasville did not have enough left in them to rally one last time.
“We had some bad shot selection and a missed layup that turned the momentum a little bit,” said Staton. “There were some missed opportunities, but that is part of the game.”
Holloway credits the aggressiveness of his team on defense for keeping the Bulldogs from playing next weekend.
“For us to have a chance we have got to play defense and rebound, and I thought that was a big part at the end,” he said. “We got some huge stops when we needed to and some huge rebounds when we needed to.”
Thomasville may have come up short this season, but there will be plenty of pieces returning next year to make another run at a title. Spires is the lone senior of the squad, and will be tough to replace at the point guard position.
“We lose an exceptional player in Box [Spires], but we return the rest of the girls and hopefully they are going to go out and work hard this summer,” Staton said. “Before we left the locker room they said they were going to work hard.”
Notes: Thomas and Spires were named to the all-regional team ... Spires had 17 points and Coleman added 12 ... Thomasville finishes the year 21-6.