Early in the 2013-2014 high school basketball season, observers are confident that both the Pocahontas County High School boys and girls basketball teams are in for an exciting year. Rising young stars on both teams have shown the potential to take the squads to the next level in the hunt for a state title. Class single-A Pocahontas County High School has proven their ability to challenge squads from much larger schools.
The PCHS girls are off to a 5-2 start, having lost close games to AA Clay County and AA Tolsia.
Local sports analyst Jason Bauserman said the girls are beginning to gel as a team.
“I think they’re really starting to come together as a team and they really look great,” said Bauserman. “They started out ranked number eight and I think they’ve moved into the fifth place slot.”
Inclement weather forced the cancellation of a January 3 home game against Charleston Catholic.
“It’s a shame we haven’t been able to play for the past 10 days,” said Bauserman. “That really kind of hurts, when they were starting to get into a groove.”
Off-season preparation likely will help the girls overcome the lack of recent playing time.
“They worked hard in the off-season,” said Bauserman. “Tristin [Day] lifted weights all summer and she’s bulked up. Bobbie [McNabb] played in the summer league in Beckley, the AAAU League, where a lot of three-A girls are playing, so she’s really toughened up. She could really break out this season as a great player. She’s got the height and the jumping ability.”
A freshman has created a lot of excitement for Lady Warriors fans.
“The nicest new player is Sarah Ryder,” said Bauserman. “I’ve been going down there and watching basketball for years, and she’s the first one who I can remember starting as a freshman from day one. She can outrun everybody and she can also jump pretty high off the floor. You don’t find too many girls who come off the floor like that.”
Five-foot-two sophomore dynamo Melissa Murphy creates havoc for opposing teams.
“That Melissa Murphy – for her size, she is just so disruptive,” said Bauserman. “And she is the best free-throw shooter on the team. We really have had a problem shooting free throws; we need to be working on that.”
The young PCHS boys basketball team is looking forward to six straight home games to get back on an even keel. The Warriors started off at 1-3, but played two tough road games at Pendleton County and Moorefield, and the third loss came at home in a close contest against AAA Buckhannon-Upshur.
“They’re coming along and they’ll be a lot better than last year, too,” said Bauserman. “I think they look pretty good for the future, too. They’re a fairly young team. That freshman class that has come in – 15 football players – that is loaded with good athletes. Things are going to be moving on up there for awhile at the school.”
Head coach Tim McClung and Assistant Frosty McNabb have one senior – David Hoover – and an exceptionally talented group of underclassmen who appear more poised and confident every game. Consistency will be the biggest challenge for the coaches, as they lead the young Warriors into the meat of the schedule.
If the Warriors can win four of their six upcoming home games, they will even their record at 5-5, as they prepare for nine straight road games from January 22 until February 28, when they play their final game of the season at home against Moorefield.
The Warriors next game is at Warrior Coliseum on Monday, January 6 at 5:45 (JV start time) against Tygarts Valley. The Lady Warriors next game is at home against Sherman in the West Virginia Hometown Invitational Tournament on Saturday, January 11 at 1:30 p.m.