Lady Warriors 6-4 after last week

Bruce McKean
Contributing Writer

PCHS 42
Nicholas County 62

Class A Pocahontas County High School Lady Warriors and Class AA Nicholas County met last year and last week in the opening round game of the Webster County Holiday Tournament.  NCHS prevailed in last year’s game 67- 44 with a 35-point career effort from senior Mykensie Martin, who nows plays at West Virginia Wesleyan.
NCHS, rated #7 of 39 schools in Class AA in the new, just released BasketballNight.com weekly ratings, fields a much younger team this year with five talented freshmen. Three of the five start, and all scored in the rematch on December 29.
PCHS was rated #16 of 45 Class A schools.  The tallest Warrior starter is 5’8” Sarah Ryder, and the Grizzlies have two 5’11” starters in freshman Anna Hamilton and senior Amanda King.  Height definitely made a difference in rebounding and scoring  in this year’s game.
Both teams pressed each other until the middle of the second quarter. PCHS was called for eight fouls in the first half versus only three for the Grizzlies.  Ryder and Michelle Murphy would sit on the bench with two fouls, and that also hurt PCHS’s rebounding effort.  
The first basket in the contest by Ryder resulted in the only PCHS lead in the game at 2-0.  The first frame was close with two ties and Pocahontas would trail by one or two points five different times.  Hamilton and King scored all the points for their team in the first frame, while senior point guard Melissa Murphy led four PCHS scorers with her five points. PCHS did take the second quarter 10-8 and cut the NCHS lead by half-time to four points, 26-22.
The shots were not dropping for the Lady Warriors in the third quarter as they shot a dismal 17 percent (two of 12 field goals), yet another NCHS freshman, Emily Parker, started scoring in the second period.  The third frame ended with NCHS up by 20 points, 42-22.  Coaches Mike Kane and Mike Murphy got the Warriors back on track for the final frame, but the 44 percent shooting (4 of 9) was not enough.  PCHS would pull within nine points twice, but a 15-5 Grizzly run at the very end of the game made it a 62-42 NCHS win, but three points closer than last year.
NCHS freshmen accounted for 45 of their team’s 62 points and for 28 of 45 rebounds.  PCHS grabbed 11 defensive rebounds against the taller team, their worst effort of the season, and tallied 11 deflections, their best tally.  NCHS turned the ball over 21 times versus 16 for PCHS. PCHS dropped to 4-4, while NCHS improved to 5-2.
The NCHS players with high stats were: Hamilton – 22 points and 10 rebounds; King – 12 points and four rebounds;  and Parker – 12 points and nine rebounds.  High PCHS stat  producers were: Melissa Murphy – 12 points, six deflections, five rebounds, and seven of 12 free throws; Ryder – 10 points; Michelle Murphy – seven points; Kayleigh Arbogast – five steals and four points; and Brittney Sharp – four points off-the-bench.  NCHS would go on and beat Class A #22 Midland Trail in the championship game 49-21.

PCHS 62
Webster County 31

Class AA #32 Webster County’s last lead was 7-6 early in the first quarter of the girls consolation/third place game of the Webster Tournament held December 30.  The Lady Warriors shot poorly in the first frame (20 percent) but had a six point lead, 17-11, by the end of the stanza.  Kelley led the way for PCHS with six points, while senior Kendal Riffle put up five for WCHS. 
Ryder got her second foul early in the second frame and sat out the rest of the half.  PCHS extended its lead to 10 points, 30-20, by half-time.
It must have been a good talk at the half by Coaches Mike Kane and Mike Murphy, because PCHS hit a sizzling nine of 13 field goals for 69 percent in the third canto.  Ryder returned to the game and exploded for nine points as PCHS took the third 20-11 and extended their advantage to 50-31, a 19-point lead.
Melissa Murphy led all scorers in the fourth frame with seven points and was the only player on the floor to score in every quarter.  PCHS also turned up the defense and held all nine Highlanders scoreless in the quarter as Pocahontas made 12 more points.  The final score jumped  to 62-31 as PCHS placed third for the second straight year.
Four Lady Warriors scored in double figures:  Ryder – 18 points and nine rebounds; Melissa Murphy – 17 points, six steals and three deflections; Arbogast – 11 game points and five rebounds all in one quarter; and Kelley – 10 points and six rebounds.  Hoover helped the cause with five assists and four steals. Senior Kendal Riffle led Webster with nine points, and junior Nikki Williams and senior Reagen Cochran each put up eight points.  
PCHS made 17 of 23 foul shots for 74 percent accuracy and forced 26 Highlander turnovers vs 13 Warrior turnovers.  PCHS grabbed 18 steals, 22 defensive rebounds and only had 10 personal fouls, all the best of the season.  PCHS improves to 5-4, while WCHS falls to 1-7.

  PCHS …………………..53
  Van Senior ……………37

When Class A #26 Van traveled to PCHS January 2, I am sure they remembered losing to PCHS last January, by the score of 94-34. It was also the night that senior first-team all-stater Tristin Day became the fourth Lady Warrior in school history to score 1,000 points. The biggest crowd of the season gave Day a standing ovation.  When Van hosted PCHS in February, PCHS won again, but only by 28 points, 49-21.

Van had a big following with them this year, and the game was still close after three quarters with Van down by only seven points, 25-32.  Pocahontas then outscored the Bulldogs 21-12 in the fourth quarter to win the game 53-37.

Ryder, Hoover and Melissa Murphy all scored in all four quarters. Ryder was PCHS high scorer with 15 points, seven rebounds and one block. Hoover had her career high points with 13 points, five assists, four steals, two threes and one block.  Melissa Murphy added 11 points, nine steals, seven rebounds and hit five of seven free throws.  Arbogast grabbed seven rebounds and made six points.  

Van committed 29 turnovers to only 10 (best of season) for PCHS.  Van grabbed one more rebound than PCHS, 31 vs 30. Van made 12 of 14 foul shots (86 percent) versus PCHS’s 11 of 22 (50 percent).  Senior guard Baylee Farmer of Van was game high scorer with 16 points and seven rebounds.  PCHS improves to 6-4, and Van drops to 3-3.

PCHS will travel to Moorefield Friday, January 8, for two varsity games – Girls at 5:45 p.m. and Boys at 7:30 p.m.  Class AA East Fairmont travels to PCHS January 9, for two Girls games – JV at 2 p.m. and V at 4 p.m.  PCHS will travel to Harman January 12 for two games – Girls:  PCHS JV vs Harman Varsity at 6 p.m.; Boys Varsity at 7:15 p.m.

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