The 2014-2015 Pocahontas County High School Girls Basketball Team. Front row, left to right: Michelle Murphy, Sarah Ryder, Olivia Knisley, Natalie Hartzell, Tristan Day, Bobbie McNabb, Kayleigh Arbogast and Melissa Murphy. Back row, left to right: Mary Kelley, Briana Mills, Caitlyn Sparks, Haley Bennett, Courtney Cohenour, Tiffany Hoover, Lindsey Hartzell and Brittany Sharp. Not pictured: Andra Taylor and Lauren Shisler.
The 2014-2015 Pocahontas County High School Girls Basketball Team. Front row, left to right: Michelle Murphy, Sarah Ryder, Olivia Knisley, Natalie Hartzell, Tristan Day, Bobbie McNabb, Kayleigh Arbogast and Melissa Murphy. Back row, left to right: Mary Kelley, Briana Mills, Caitlyn Sparks, Haley Bennett, Courtney Cohenour, Tiffany Hoover, Lindsey Hartzell and Brittany Sharp. Not pictured: Andra Taylor and Lauren Shisler.

Bruce McKean
Contributing Writer

The Pocahontas County High School girls basketball team, ranked #7 in West Virginia Class A in both the AP and Coaches Preseason Polls, traveled to Bath County High School on Wednesday, December 3, to open its 2014-15 season.  Last season PCHS won both encounters with its Virginia neighbor – at home 54-25 in mid-December and at Bath 52-28 in early January.

The Chargers biggest lead in this game was four points early in the first quarter.  The Lady Warriors tied the game at 7-7 and never trailed again after Coach Mike Kane ordered a full-court man-to-man press.  PCHS took the first quarter 17-9 and hit six of 10 foul shots, while Bath would only hit one of six free throws.  All five PCHS starters, including new senior starter at post Natalie Hartzell scored in the first period.  Hartzell filled the starting post position of 2013 graduate Lorena Rose.  All other PCHS starters return with the goal to get back to Charleston for the second straight year and finally get past that opening round brick wall.

Coach Kane would play his other five players in the second quarter, and they all scored and accounted for 14 of the 26 points scored in the second.  PCHS would make six of 11 foul shots in the period while Bath would miss their three foul shots and only score four points.  The half ended 43-13 with PCHS on top.

Bath would not shoot a single foul shot in the third quarter while PCHS would connect on seven of 15 foul shots.  The third quarter ended 62-23.  The smaller but faster Lady Warriors went on four runs of 10, 10, 14 and 12 points in the first three periods to dominate the Chargers.

The final score was 78-35.  Bath was called for 31 fouls versus 19 for PCHS.  The Lady Warriors’ press caused their opponents to commit 33 turnovers while managing to only commit 12 themselves.  The rebounding contest was close with PCHS taking it 31-28.  The Lady Warriors stole the ball 17 times in the first half and only three in the second, and those were all in the third period.  The team shot twos at a 30 percent clip (16 of 54), threes at a better 39 percent rate (7 of 18) and foul shots at 54 percent (25 of 46).

Senior first team all-stater Tristin Day was game high scorer with 17 points including four treys, four steals, three rebounds and two assists.  Senior all-stater Bobbie McNabb just missed a double-double with 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and one blocked shot.  Sophomore Sarah Ryder also hit 12 points and made five rebounds, two steals and one block.

Sophomore Mary Kelley came off the bench and hit for nine points.  Junior Michelle Murphy would score six off the bench and tally three rebounds, two steals  and two assists.

Hartzell, senior Olivia Knisely and junior Kayleigh Arbogast all put in five points each, and Natalie and Kayleigh grabbed three and four rebounds respectively.  Junior first team all-PVC Melissa Murphy “moved faster than the speed of sound” directing the team at point guard while providing the most steals and assists of four each plus three points.  Sophomore Tiffany Hoover is a very competent point guard when she directs the team, and she accounted for four points and three assists.

Come out the see the fast and furious Lady Warriors debut at PCHS when they open Potomac Valley Conference play on Wednesday, December 10, versus East Hardy.  The JV game starts at 5:45 with the varsity game to follow.

The ladies get tested early again Friday and Saturday, December 12 and 13, at the Reynolds Oil Classic at Summers County High School in Hinton.  The PCHS varsity will play Class AA James Monroe on Friday at 5:30 p.m., while the PCHS JV will play Summers County JV earlier at 3:30 p.m.  PCHS will play either Class AA #5 Summers or Class AA Chapmanville of Logan County on Saturday in either the 6 p.m. consolation or 7:45 p.m. championship games.

The Marlinton Middle School teams will play four games on Saturday at the same location versus Summers County.  The boys seventh and eighth grade teams play at 10 and 11:30 a.m. and the girls play at 1 and 2:30 p.m.

The PCHS JV easily handled Bath County 35-14.  Six girls scored in the game with sophomore Brittany Sharp and freshman Brianna Mills sharing game honors with nine points each.  Brittany tallied five rebounds, five steals and three assists.  Brianna accounted for eight rebounds and two blocks.  Freshman Haley Bennett scored five points and added seven rebounds.  Sophomore Kourtney Cohenour pulled down ten rebounds, one block and put in four points.  Freshman Catlyn Sparks made six points and grabbed six rebounds. Sophomores Lindsey Hartzell and Andra Taylor-Stull had five and four rebounds respectively.  PCHS won the rebounding battle 45 to 15.