The #5 ranked Pocahontas County High School Lady Warriors (11-3) traveled to Hambleton January 21 to face the #4 Tucker County Lady Mountain Lions (10-2) on their mountain. For the second straight year the two squads were tied for the top spot in the Class A division of the Potomac Valley Conference with equal 4-0 records. Last year their state rankings were the reverse of this year, and the #4 PCHS 2014 state ranking was the highest in school history.
The score was tied four times Wednesday in the first quarter at 4-4, 6-6, 12-12 and 14-14, and Tucker led 20-16 at the end of one stanza. Bobbie McNabb of PCHS hit two threes in the first, and freshman Sydney Nestor of TCHS scored eight points, matching Sarah Ryder’s eight points for PCHS.
Tristin Day hit a three to start the second period, and PCHS was within one point at 19-20. Tucker ended the quarter with an 11-0 run and led by 13 points at the half, 34-21.
Melissa Murphy finally ended the Warriors’ collapse with a shift move to the glass followed by a Day trey to cut the lead to 10 points in the third quarter. McNabb sank her fourth three in the fourth to cut the TCHS lead to six points, 49-43. With about two minutes to go in the battle, Tucker slowed down the game, and shot eight foul shots and made five. Ryder left the game when she got hit in the head going for a layup. Melissa Murphy made the only basket down the stretch for PCHS. Pocahontas took the second half by two points, but the 5-14 second quarter doomed the Lady Warriors. The final score was 56-45, an 11-point victory for Tucker. Since the 2011-12 season, each school has won five times. Tucker has now won five of the last six match-ups with PCHS.
Injuries and illness continue to stymie the Warriors this season. Mary Kelley left the game in the first quarter, and McNabb was not 100 percent. Coach Kane commented that Melissa Murphy was back to her great play after limited play recently following a car wreck.
Surprisingly talented 5’8″ freshman Sydney Nestor (TC) was game high scorer with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Kane commented that freshman Nestor plays like a senior.
McNabb was next high scorer with 14 points, including four threes, and three blocks. Senior Aiyana Kachmarek (TC) had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and sophomore Elizabeth Nichols (TC) put in 12 points. Day hit 11 points including two treys. Senior Madison Mullenax (TC) and Sarah Ryder were tied with 10 points each. Natalie Hartzell tallied six points and one block, and Melissa Murphy made four points.
PCHS was called for 12 fouls (only made three of eight foul shots), and TCHS was called for seven fouls (10 for 15). The taller Tucker team out-rebounded Pocahontas 27-17, and 17 was the fewest rebounds this season for PCHS. PCHS committed more turnovers 17 vs 12 for TCHS, and 17 was the fourth most PCHS turnovers this season. PCHS hit six threes to two for Tucker.
The two teams will meet again at PCHS Friday, January 30, as the Lady Warriors get rested and try to end a four game losing streak.
The JV game begins at 5:45 p.m. with the varsity game following.