PCHS Warriors freshman Brady Jones moves inside against a Tucker County defender on January 11 at Dunmore. Jones leads the nine freshmen on the team with 9.2 minutes per game and 10 games played. In the limited court time, the frosh has averaged four points and three rebounds per game.
PCHS Warriors freshman Brady Jones moves inside against a Tucker County defender on January 11 at Dunmore. Jones leads the nine freshmen on the team with 9.2 minutes per game and 10 games played. In the limited court time, the frosh has averaged four points and three rebounds per game.

The Pocahontas County High School Warriors suffered their first loss in the last six games after a long road trip to Van, in Boone County, on February 7. Head Coach Tim McClung thinks the 60-56 loss is a game that the team let get away.

“We lost a game the other night that was a heartbreaker for me,” he said. “We just didn’t play well. We missed some very, very easy shots inside the paint – I don’t know how many – there were so many we couldn’t count them all on the stat sheets. It’s a game I thought we should have won, even though we traveled four hours to get there. We were just a step slow and it was a night that things just weren’t going our way.”

The team was scheduled to play Pendleton County at home on Tuesday night and travel to Webster County on Wednesday night. The coach said a win over the Wildcats on Tuesday was especially important.

“It’s a very important game against Pendleton County,” he said. “They are in our section and I think they are the leader in our side of the section right now. They beat us by seven points over at their place on December third, so this is a game that we need to win.”

The Warriors roster includes one senior, five juniors, seven sophomores and nine freshmen. Despite their youth, the team has compiled a 6-5 record – a rapid turnaround from the same point last season, when the team was 2-9. Fans’ expectations have risen with the improved play and obvious potential.

Following a hard practice on Monday, sophomore J.D. Hensler said the team is aware of high expectations for the second part of the season.

“It puts the pressure on you that you don’t want to let down the community,” he said. “You want to push yourself as hard as you can to succeed. But it makes it that much better because the pressure makes you work that much harder.”

Junior Adam Irvine tried to be unbiased about the team’s prospects.

“We’re good enough to beat any team we play,” he said. “We’re a lot better than last year. We improve more every game we play and it’s just something that’s going to come with experience. We’re good this year, but we could be a lot better. We’re going to learn a lot more and next year, we should be real good.”

Irvine said physical conditioning is key to the Warriors’ success.

“That’s everything for us,” he said. “We want to be in better shape than anyone we play. We want to be the team that in the fourth quarter, we’re still just as good as we were in the first quarter. That’s everything for us – being in shape and being able to run with every team we play.”

The Warriors are scheduled to play in the Hometown Invitational Tournament at Summersville Armory at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening.