Lady Warriors slow start at Summer County delays trip to states

Bruce McKean
Contributing Writer

Pocahontas County, 33
Summers County, 58

The West Virginia Class A Region III Section 1 #2 seed Pocahontas County High School girls basketball team travelled to Section 2 winner and #1 seed Summers County February 28 to compete in one of the two Region III co-finals for a possible 10th PCHS trip to states.  Class AA Hinton High School’s powerhouse girls basketball program carried over to Summers County when Hinton and four other schools were consolidated into SCHS in 1994.  PCHS has never beaten Hinton, and the best PCHS effort vs Summers was a two-point loss during Tim McClung’s girls coaching time.  SCHS was the Class A #1 seed last season at states with a 23-2 regular season record and holds the state boys-girls wins record of 105 straight games from February 2, 2008 to January 15, 2012 while still in Class AA.  

PCHS head coach Mike Kane said it all when he was asked by Beckley Register-Herald reporter Tyler Jackson about the game and his very young team that includes no seniors and only one junior.  

“It was a pretty irritating game for us,” Kane said.  “We missed a lot of easy shots at the beginning that we should have made.  They have a tremendous press, and they’re coached very well.  We had trouble with their press, and we tried to fix it, but we’re enjoying the game right now.”  

Kane told me that he is so proud of this young team and all that they have accomplished this season by getting within one win of a tenth state tournament appearance.  The last two trips were in 2014 and 2015 under Coach Kane.

PCHS made only one of 11 baskets in the first quarter, and all but one attempt from three-point range were shots from close to the basket.  The first frame ended with the Lady Bobcats up 22-4, and sophomore Charity Warder made all four points.  PCHS missed four other foul shots, and SCHS top scorer,  Hannah Taylor, hit all eight of her foul shots in this first canto.  Six Bobcats shared the initial scoring.

PCHS did much better in the second quarter, losing it 10-17, but the half-time lead, 39-14, was too much to overcome.  The two teams were exactly even in the second half scoring, a 19-19 tie.  The final score was 58-33 Summers County (#7 AP Poll), and both schools entered the game with identical 16-7 records. Summers (17-7) was voted the #5 seed at states.

Game high stats for PCHS were:  Charity Warder – 10 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 deflections; Brianna Hefner – 9 points and 6 rebounds; Laila Calhoun – 11 rebounds, 6 points, 6 assists and 3 steals; Kira Bircher – 4 points (4 of 4 foul shots) and a great defensive effort; Alexa Taylor 2 points and a great ball handling effort; Sage McLaughlin – 3 steals and a great defensive effort and Jerica Reed – 2 points.

SCHS 5’10” senior guard Hannah Taylor was game high scorer with a double-double of 16 points and 18 rebounds, and she made 11 of her 16 foul shots.  Freshman Taylor Isaac was next with 16 points.  PCHS made 9 of 16 (56 percent) foul shots, and SCHS made 15 of 22 (68 percent).  The Bobcats out rebounded the Warriors 43 to 30, and Summers committed 10 fewer turnovers, 17 to 27.

PCHS Coaches Kane, Allen Taylor and Chloe Bland look forward to their young team all returning and improving as much next season as they did this season with a goal to make a 10th trip to states in 2019.

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