Bruce McKean
Contributing Writer

PCHS Varsity, 38
Tucker County Varsity, 73 

The Class A #1 (Coaches Poll) Tucker County High School girls basketball squad traveled to Pocahontas County High School January 20 for their second match-up this season.  The Mountain Lions handled the Warriors 67-28 in their first encounter at Hambleton on December 7.  PCHS upped their game by 10 points this time around, and TCHS scored six more points for a 73-38 second Tucker victory.

TCHS started strong  on Friday with a 9-0 run to begin the game, and PCHS ended the first quarter on a 7-0 run to reduce Tucker’s lead to 14-9.  That lead at the end of one could have been larger for TCHS considering that PCHS hit all four of their free throws, and Tucker made only four of their 11 chances at the foul line.

Senior Sarah Ryder hit a basket to start the second stanza, and that cut the TCHS lead to three points which was as close as Pocahontas would get.  Tucker then mounted a 10-0 run, and by half-time, the Tucker  lead was extended to 31-17 with a 14-8 second quarter effort.  

The Mountain Lions saved their best for last as they scored 21 points in each of the final two frames.  The Mountain Lions ended the third quarter on a 3-0 run and then continued with a 17-0 run to start the final frame and put the game out of reach for the home team.  That run ended with TCHS up 48-17.  Tucker took third quarter 21-6 and the final frame 21-15.  Senior Mary Kelley hit three of her five three-pointers in the fourth. 

Game high scorer was TCHS junior Sydney Nestor, who recently passed 1,000 points for her career and added 25 points and eight rebounds to her stats on Friday.  Senior Elizabeth Nichols was next with a career high 18 points plus 10 rebounds and 8 blocks.  Junior Sydney Moore added 10 points to the Tucker total.  PCHS high scorer was Kelley who hit five threes for 15 points.  Ryder tallied nine points, nine rebounds and four assists.  Senior Brittney Sharp came off the bench and put up seven points and dished out some great passes under the basket.  Nine girls scored for TCHS, and six girls for PCHS.

Tucker committed 13 turnovers while Pocahontas amassed 33 of which 23 were bad passes.  The rebounding effort was closer with TCHS taking that stat 31 to 26.  The foul calling was odd to say the least; the Mountain Lions were called for 10 fouls in each half while the Lady Warriors were called for 14 in the first half and only three in the second half.  Tucker made 11 of their 26 (42 percent) foul shots, and PCHS hit 11 of 20 (55 percent).

TCHS improves to 12-2 and 6-0 in the PVC.  PCHS drops to 6-5 and 2-3 in the PVC.  The last PCHS win over Tucker County was on January 4, 2013 at TCHS 39-38.

Tucker County JV, 53 

The PCHS JV squad had not had a game for exactly one full month due to opponents not having the numbers to field a JV team.  The Lady Warriors JV came out strong to take the first quarter 10-6 with Calhoun scoring six points and sophomore Aliza Carr adding four points.  

TCHS sophomore Riley Evans played only in the second quarter of the JV game, and she was game high scorer with 18 points and five rebounds.  Tucker took the second and third quarters 25-3 and 11-6 respectively while losing the final frame 11-13.  TCHS sophomore Aliyah Plum and freshman Katie Surguy added 14 and 11 points respectively.  

Five PCHS players scored the following point totals:  Carr – seven, freshmen Sage Mclaughlin – eight, Kira Bircher – six, Laila Calhoun – six, and Chloe Sharp – five.  PCHS high rebounder was Bircher with six rebounds. McLaughlin’s five assists and four steals were PCHS team highs.  PCHS drops to 4-3 and 1-2 in the PVC.

PCHS Varsity, 44
Van Varsity, 47

After a taxing game on Friday, the PCHS varsity girls team boarded a school bus Saturday morning for a nearly four hour drive to Van High School in Boone County.  PCHS showed no signs of being tired and totally dominated the Bulldogs in the first quarter, taking it 23-4.  Ryder scored 10 points, and four other Lady Warriors added points.

Van got more physical in the second stanza, and they took it 13-8.  Van shot 14 foul shots to only seven for PCHS, and neither team shot well.  Kelley’s two threes were the only two PCHS field goals in the period, and Van cut the PCHS lead to 31-17 at the half.

Coach Mike Kane reported that the Lady Warriors “lost their legs” sometime after the first quarter, and Van took the third canto 10-3.  The fourth quarter was a foul shooting contest with PCHS making six of 18 (33 percent) shots and Van hitting four of 12 (33 percent).  Van took the quarter 20-10 and finally took the lead just before time expired for the 47-44 upset.  PCHS only scored 21 total points in the final three quarters versus 24 in the first.

Ryder and Van freshman Karlie Lafauci were the only two players to score in every quarter, and they tied for game high scorers with 15 points each. Ryder also grabbed nine rebounds.  Kelly hit for 13 points, including three treys, and Van sophomore Haleigh Cook matched the 13 points while getting a double-double with 12 rebounds.  Freshmen Charity Warder and Laila Calhoun each grabbed six rebounds.

Both teams were each called for 11 fouls in the first half and 13 fouls in the second half.  Van hit 11 of 25 (44 percent) free throws, and PCHS made 11 of 31 (35 percent).  Van improves to 6-7, and PCHS drops to 6-6.  Both schools are in Region 3 this season, so this loss will impact PCHS’ post-season seeding. PCHS won the three previous games in their three seasons of play.

The PCHS varsity team next travels to Upper Glade to face “new to Class A this year” Webster County on Wednesday, January 25, at 6:30 p.m. (No JV game).  Both the JV and Varsity squads then travel to Franklin to face Pendleton County Tuesday, January 31.  The JV game starts at 6:15 p.m., and the varsity contest begins at 8 p.m.