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Lady Warriors are 2020 Section I Champions

The Lady Warriors, front row, from left: Charity Warder, Kira Bircher, Laila Calhoun, Alexa Taylor and Jerica Reed. Back row, from left: Kiersten Taylor, Sienna Bircher, Tessa Kiner, Macaden Taylor and Allyson Alderman. Not pictured: Cloey Sharp, head coach Mike Kane and assistant coaches Allen Taylor and Chloe Bland. Photo courtesy of Becky Peteete

Charleston is just one win away

Bruce McKean
Contributing Writer

PCHS Varsity, 41
Charleston Catholic Varsity, 33

The #3 state-ranked (AP Poll) and Class A Region III Section 1 #1 seed Pocahontas County Lady Warriors (19-4) hosted the #9 ranked (MetroNews Power Index) and #3 seed Charleston Catholic Irish (10-8) February 28 in the Section 1 Championship. Catholic advanced to the game by upsetting #10 (MetroNews) and #2 seed Midland Trail 44-36 Wednesday in the other Section 1 semi-final.  Details of the PCHS semi-final win that advanced the team to this game are included in this article  
PCHS played Catholic once during the regular season and beat the Irish at Dunmore by 13 points, 41-28.

Warrior Arena was packed with students, cheerleaders and fans Friday, loudly cheering on their team – a team loaded with six talented seniors, who are breaking and tying records and winning games. 

The Lady Warriors have made it to states nine times, and they have usually been a #4 or #5 seed. If PCHS makes it to states this year – the 10th time – I predict a #3 or #4 seed.

The Irish were without their only senior, Clare Tupta, on Friday due to her suffering a concussion in a game with Webster February 12. 

The maroon and gold started this game on a 9-0 run and nailed a 12-4 first quarter. PCHS shot 50% in both of the first two frames, and took the second stanza 8-4 for a 20-10 half-time lead.  

CCHS head coach Wes Hevener must have “laid down the law,” because the Irish started the third on a 12-0 run. Catholic tied the game at 20-20 and took their first lead, 22-20, with 4:23 to go in the third. It was now a battle, and there were three more ties in the third with the stanza ending knotted at 25-25. PCHS made only two of seven (29%) field goal attempts in the third and committed 11 of their game-total 26 turnovers. CCHS junior (#20) Hannah Rahin made seven of her team-high 12 points in the third. I was nervous recalling the fact that Midland Trail used a 12-0 run in the third quarter last year to upset our girls, and Summers used a game-ending 9-1 run to win the regional co-final.

The Irish committed eight of their 30 game turnovers in the fourth, while PCHS upped their field goal shooting to 45%. Laila Calhoun tallied nine of her game-high 15 points in the fourth. Calhoun made the first two points making the score 27-25, and PCHS would never trail again. At the 1:33 mark, PCHS led by eight, 35-27, and that was the final margin of victory. Our home team made only six of 15 foul shots in the period and nine of 23 (39%) in the game versus nine of 14 (64%) for CCHS in the game. Catholic was called for 20 fouls by the Parkersburg officiating crew in the game versus 12 for PCHS, and their coaching staff was not happy. The Irish had to foul in the fourth, since they were behind, and Rahin and Annie Cimino fouled out while two others had four fouls. Each team hit two threes, and Kierstin Taylor hit one in each of the first two periods for PCHS.

Calhoun finished with a double-double of 15 points, 11 rebounds, five deflections and four steals. Charity War-der tallied nine points and six rebounds. Kira Bircher played great defense and added six assists, five rebounds, four points and two blocks. Starting point guard while Alexa Taylor heals, Kierstin Taylor notched seven points and nailed both PCHS’ threes. Sienna Bir-cher compiled four rebounds, three points and two blocks. Alexa Taylor saw limited action but she looked almost back to normal with two assists and a basket. Jerica Reed played great defense, as always.

PCHS upped their record to 20-4 with 35 rebounds, and CCHS dropped to 10-9 with 20 rebounds. Catholic will travel to Hinton March 4 to face Region 1 #1 seed Summers County in one Region III co-final. PCHS hosts Section 2 runner-up Greenbrier West on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the other co-final. You need to get to PCHS early just in case West brings a ton of fans. It takes an army of volunteers, parents and school staff plus great coaches (Mike Kane, Allen Taylor and Chloe Bland) to get to where these girls are. 

We are all Pocahontas Proud!

PCHS Varsity, 48
Webster County Varsity, 33

PCHS hosted #4 seed Webster County February 27 in one of the two Section 1 Semi-final games. The match-up was rescheduled from Wednesday due to bad weather. Webster hosted #5 seed Richwood in a play-in game February 24, and won the right to play PCHS with a 74-39 win. Pocahontas head coach Mike Kane was unable to schedule Webster for the regular season. The Highlanders depended on the offense and defense of freshman Sydney Baird, daughter of WCHS head coach Shar-on Baird. Although PCHS won all four quarters, 9-8, 8-4, 17-12 and 14-9, the game had a couple of big swings in scoring.  

After one quarter PCHS led 9-8, and the game was tied once at 12-12 in the second. PCHS had a 14-0 run after the tie that included four-straight threes. The 8-4 second stanza led to a 17-12 PCHS lead at the half. Baird scored nine of Webster’s 12 points in the first half. Kierstin Taylor nailed three straight treys in the third quarter after sinking one in the first. Kira Bircher and Laila Calhoun each hit a three in the third after Kira nailed one in the second.  Calhoun “held down the fort” with 12 of her team-high 19 points in the fourth. Calhoun also accumulated five rebounds. 

Baird was game-high scorer with 23 of Webster’s 33 points while hitting six of six foul shots and grabbing four rebounds. Kierstin Taylor totaled 14 points, six assists and four rebounds, Warder contributed 10 rebounds, seven points, four assists and three deflections. Kira Bircher tallied eight points, five assists, two blocks and “stuck like glue” to keep Baird from having another 40-point game. PCHS out-rebounded WCHS 30 to 13 but had more turnovers 19 to 14. PCHS sank seven threes to three for WCHS. 

Webster ended their season with an 11-13 record.

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