Lady Warriors’ effort falls just short

Bruce McKean
Contributing Writer

PCHS V, 35
Summers County V, 46

For the second straight year, girls basketball power house Summers County High School ended the Pocahontas County High School girls basketball team’s goal and dream of a 10th trip to states. The last time PCHS made it to Charleston was in 2015.

In last year’s Region III co-final at Summers County, PCHS lost the first quarter by a score of 22 – 4 and could not recover, losing by 25 points, 33-58. This year was a complete turn-around, and the Lady Warriors were down by only three points, 34 – 37, with about one minute 50 seconds left in the game. PCHS high scorer Laila Calhoun, who also leads the team in steals and is second in rebounds, got her fifth foul call with 2:05 to go in the game. Charity Warder also left the game with five fouls in the final quarter. At one time in the game, PCHS had only one starter and four subs on the floor, due to foul troubles. The Bobcats had to mount a final 9-1 run to win the game by freezing the ball, and that left the Warriors no option but to foul to stop the clock. SCHS shot nine more of their game-high 26 foul shots in the fourth frame, and made six of those.

PCHS also started stronger this year in the first stanza with 50 percent field goal shooting and an early 6 – 0 run highlighted by the Warriors’ first lead, 4-3. The first frame was marked by three lead changes and ended in an 8 – 8 tie. Five fouls were called on PCHS starters in the first, so a couple of subs saw early action while Summers shot six foul shots to zero foul shots for our team.  The big contingent of PCHS students, cheerleaders and fans made the two-hour trek to Hinton, and some soon became very vocal in reaction to some calls and particularly some non-calls by the referees. Bobcat fans filled about three-quarters of the gym, but the cheering and support was equal in volume.

By the end of the first half PCHS had 10 foul calls to only six for the home team, and all our scoring in the second period came from our bench due to PCHS’s foul troubles. Both teams shot six foul shots in the second frame, and Pocahontas made one while Summers made four. PCHS sophomore Kierstin Taylor made five points in the second, and  SCHS sophomore Taylor Isaac put up 10, as the Bobcats took the eight point lead by the half, 24 -16. The quarter was marked by one 12 – 12 tie and two lead changes, but the Bobcats ended the quarter with a 12 – 0 run that expanded to a 14-0 run with the first shot of the second half. The Lady Warriors still did not give up!

The third quarter was a low-scoring defensive battle that ended 9 – 5 in favor of PCHS, cutting the SCHS lead in half to only four-points, 29 – 25, going into the final frame. PCHS senior Bri Hefner led all scorers in the third with four points. PCHS made three of six foul shots (50%) in the fourth, and Summers hit eight of 12 foul shots (67%). Leading scorers in the fourth were: Kira Bircher with four points, and SCHS sophomores Isaac and Gavin Pivont with nine and seven points respectively.

High scorer for PCHS with a double-double was Bri Hefner with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Pivont scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds.  SCHS senior Erica Merrill pulled down nine rebounds.  Kira Bircher tallied eight points and a team-high three assists. Other team-highs were:  Laila Calhoun – four steals, Alexa Taylor – four deflections, and Warder – four blocks and eight rebounds (second high).

PCHS (now 18 – 5) won the rebound battle 38 – 30.  Summers (now 16-9) had fewer turnovers, 14 – 18.  Foul shooting was:  PCHS – 7 of 16 for 44% and SCHS – 15 of 26 for 58%. Seven Lady Warriors scored versus five Bobcats.

Congratulations are in order for Coaches Mike Kane, Allen Taylor, Chloe Bland, all the Lady Warriors and all the volunteers and supporters for a truly exceptional season for both the varsity and junior varsity squads.

Senior Bri Hefner has been the leader of this squad and will be missed by all.

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