Pocahontas County High School Girls Head Coach Mike Kane and new assistant coaches, Allen Taylor and Chloe Bland, faced the daunting task of opening their season at Class A #6 (AP Preseason Poll) Tucker County. Then PCHS faced “new to Class A” power #3 Summers County in the annual Reynolds Oil Classic in Hinton. Kane also lost his new starting senior point guard Tiffany Hoover just before the season started when Hoover’s family moved to Michigan. Graduation also took three talented starters, Melissa Murphy, Michelle Murphy and Kayleigh Arbogast, plus top sub Megan Galford.
Starting for PCHS so far this season are returning senior Sarah Ryder and Mary Kelley plus new starter, senior Lindsey Hartzell. Two of the eight freshmen, Charity Warder and Alexa Taylor, are handling the pressure of being starters as they begin their high school careers. Taylor has also had to learn the point guard position. Seniors Brittney Sharp and Kourtney Cohenour are strong contributors off the bench.
Tucker Co., 67
The trip to Potomac Valley Conference rival Tucker County on December 7 was the usual challenge. The “always state-contender” Mountain Lions return starting juniors Sydney Nestor and Sydney Moore, who led their team to the 67-28 win over PCHS with 15 and 11 points respectively. PCHS (0-1) was led by senior Sarah Ryder with 10 points. TCHS (2-0) graduated five seniors and opened their season at Class AA Philip Barbour with a 42-32 win. Tucker then lost 46-61 to Class AAA power Martinsburg at home on December 10 and dropped to 2-1.
The Lady Warriors only trailed 12-16 after one frame with freshman Laila Calhoun and seniors Ryder, Kelley and Brittney Sharp scoring. Tucker exploded in the second period and took it 16-4 while also outscoring PCHS in the second half at the same pace.
The PCHS JV was led by freshman Kira Bircher and junior Haley Bennett with 11 and eight points respectively. PCHS was only down by three at the half with an odd 1-1 third quarter tie. Tucker won the JV game also, but by a closer 48-33 score.
Summers Co., 92
The Lady Warriors next headed to Hinton on December 9 and faced host Summers County Bobcats, who returned six seniors. PCHS lost last season 32-77. SCHS has won their tournament 15 times in the 26 years of the tournament (1991 – 2016).
The Bobcats started strong, and senior all-state twins Whitney and Brittney Justice scored 23 and 18 points respectively, while junior Hannah Taylor put up 18 points for a 40-92 PCHS loss. Mary Kelley led PCHS with 21 points, including six three-pointers and a great defensive effort. The Justice twins had scored 28 points each in their recent win over Class AAA Woodrow Wilson.
The PCHS JV (0-2) lost a close game to SCHS for the second year in a row with a 22-26 loss. Freshman Laila Calhoun’s six points was the high score for PCHS. Summers shortened the game to only two quarters.
Summers advanced to the championship game December 10 versus Class AAA Cabell Midland, which has the largest student population in West Virginia. Cabell came from behind in the fourth frame to win the championship 48-46.
PCHS (0-3) played in the consolation game on Saturday versus Chapmanville (1-1) and lost 26-87. The CHS Tigers lost on Friday to Cabell 31-46.
Sophomore Madison Webb and senior Abby Marcum led the Tigers with 24 and 20 points respectively, while Kelley led PCHS with eight points.
Kelley was voted to the All-Tournament team by a panel of judges.
The Lady Warriors will travel to Baker to face East Hardy December 16 and to Hot Springs, Virginia, WHEN to play Bath County – JV 6 p.m. and V 7:30 p.m. both nights.