Bruce McKean
Contributing Writer

PCHS Varsit, 52
Pendleton County Varsity, 59

When the Pocahontas County and Pendleton County girls January 31 basketball match up in Franklin ended, fans of both teams agreed that it was a great game that went back and forth with both squads “playing their hearts out” to the very end.  The Pendleton players, coaches and fans were extremely excited with the win, and they erupted into a celebration at the buzzer.  I was trying to recall when the Lady Wildcats had last defeated our girls, so I started plowing through the stats that I enter after each game on MaxPreps.  It turns out that their last win over the Lady Warriors also happened at Franklin on January 11, 2013, and the score was 48-45.

A little more searching of MaxPreps made me realize that the record of Pocahontas versus Pendleton over the eleven seasons we have been on MaxPreps is now 22-2.  No wonder the Wildcats were so happy to win one.  We normally play Pendleton twice each year, except when we have faced them in the post-season. Last season and in 2013-14, we won a third game each of those two seasons.

The Wildcats started strong Tuesday with a 17-11 first quarter, and five of their players scored versus only two for PCHS.  The score was tied twice in the period with two lead changes, and the Wildcats finished on a 9-2 run.  PCHS senior Mary Kelley was the high scorer in the period with eight points, and Pendleton senior Caylie Simmons was right behind her with six.  

The second quarter was pretty even with Pocahontas taking the frame 11-10 but still trailed by 22-27 at the half.  Kelley exploded in the third quarter with three treys and a total of 15 points as we won the stanza 17-9 and took the 39-36 lead.

Pendleton tied the game once at 43-43 in the fourth frame, but PCHS kept the lead until the 4:39 mark, when a Simmons’ basket made it 49-48 Wildcats.  A Sarah Ryder basket would give us our final lead at 50-49.  Kelley fouled out with 1:22 to go, and Pendleton would shoot nine foul shots to zero for PCHS in the last 1:35 of the game, as Pocahontas had to foul to stop their stalling.

Head Coach Mike Kane felt our poor shooting lost the game, as we made only nine of 17 foul shots, and they made 14 of 17.  Kane’s team also only shot 14 and 17 percent of their field goals in the first and third quarters.  Pendleton made nine foul shots to four for us in the last quarter.  Kelley’s 26 points that included five more threes and Simmons’  23 points were 1-2 for game scoring honors.  Ryder had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Ryder and Simmons both scored in all four quarters. PCHS hit 9 treys to 5 for Pendleton, and Pocahontas committed fewer turnovers 9-11.  The two top scorers on each team accounted for 41 points of each team’s scoring, and all four are seniors.  Both teams grabbed 29 rebounds each, but Pendleton’s were all offensive except for five, while PCHS split between the two types of rebounds.

Pocahontas drops to 8-7 and 3-4 in the PVC, while Pendleton improves to 7-8 and 4-6 in the PVC.  The Lady Warriors next play a varsity game at Tygarts Valley on Friday, February 10, at 7 p.m.  The PCHS varsity and JV squads then host Pendleton County again in the annual Pink-out game for cancer (JV at 2 p.m. and V at 4 p.m.). The PCHS varsity then travels to Charleston Catholic on Monday, February 13, for a 5:30 p.m. contest.

PCHS JV, 52
Pendleton County JV, 59

The Pocahontas JV team took the first three quarters of their game 11-2, 10-6 and 6-3 to lead 27-11 after three stanzas.  In the final frame the Lady Wildcats would get to shoot 11 foul shots but would only make three, while PCHS would not shoot a single foul shot.  Pocahontas was called for twice as many fouls in the game – 16 to 8.  Pendleton took the last quarter 13-10, but PCHS prevailed 37-24.

Game high scorer was freshman Sage McLaughlin with 11 points and four deflections.  Sophomore Briana Hefner and freshman Kira Bircher each tallied eight points.  Sophomore Marlee McLaughlin led the team with five steals and four blocked shots.  Freshman Katelyn Scott led Pendleton with six points and eight rebounds. Pocahontas improves to 6-3 and 2-2 in the PVC, and their final game of the season is the Pink-out home game versus Pendleton County noted above.