It was the renewal of the Backyard Brawl at Mill Creek on Tuesday, January 14, that has heated up due to both squads now being in the same region. Tygarts Valley upset PCHS last year in the Region 2 final at PCHS, 45-40, ending five straight trips to Charleston for the Lady Warriors.
TVHS Coach Mike DiPasquale starts four seniors and one junior. PCHS Coach Mike Kane has just one senior and starts one senior, two juniors, one sophomore and one freshman.
PCHS came into the game ranked number-five in Class A with a 6-2 record, and the Lady Bulldogs were ranked right behind at number-seven, while sporting a 6-1 record. The Lady Bulldogs’ only loss was a 40-point 62-22 stunner at Tucker County on December 12.
PCHS led by four points after one quarter of play and by only five points at the break. Bobbie McNabb got two quick foul calls early and sat out more than half of the first half. The Lady Warriors built a 14-point lead going into the last quarter and hung on to that lead with a 19-19 final period. The final score was 60-46 PCHS. The Warriors’ biggest lead was 19 points at 51-32.
Three Bulldog starters would foul out in the fourth as they won the fouling contest 22-14. The refs were great and kept the very physical game under control.
Tristin Day hit five threes and took game scoring honors with 25 points. Speedster Melissa Murphy, who was playing along with her teammates for her recently injured twin sister Michelle, contributed 12 points, and freshman Sarah Ryder put up 11 points. McNabb had eight points, six defensive rebounds and three blocks in a great all-around effort. Lorena Rose was tough under the boards with 9 rebounds. The shooting accuracy of PCHS won the game with a 43 to 28 percent advantage on field goals and a 63 to 27 percent effort on free throws. TVHS shot 24 more field goals and 12 less foul shots.
Leading Tygarts Valley was Paige Pritt with 16 points and eight rebounds, Kelsey Arbogast with 13 points, Kelsey Wyss eight points and Emily Pingley eight points and nine rebounds.
The Lady Warriors traveled to Franklin two days later with memories of the 48-45 game that got away from PCHS last year at Franklin still fresh in the mind of PCHS coaches and players. Pendleton is in the same section with Pocahontas, and the Lady Warriors won the sectional championship last year at Petersburg over the Lady Wildcats 63-60.
Pocahontas started this game on a 10-0 run, and the first quarter ended in the Lady Warriors’ favor 14-5. Bobbie McNabb provided most of the scoring in the first two quarters with three treys and thirteen points. By the half, Pendleton had our lead cut to only two points.
The Lady Warriors just did not click in the third quarter, and only scored seven points, but Pendleton only tallied eight and cut the Warrior lead to one point.
By the time the dust had settled, PCHS had hit 17 of 22 foul shots in the final quarter. Tristin Day hit nine of 10 foul shots in the final canto, and Melissa Murphy made five of six. The final score was 56-41 Pocahontas, and our record improves to 8-2. Pendleton drops to 5-7.
The Wildcats were called for 27 fouls while the Warriors only got 17 whistles. It was the most physical game of the season, and it all started in the junior varsity brawl that Pocahontas took 33-28. The Warrior JV squad is now 7-2 with seven straight wins after two close losses to start the season at Summers County.
Day finished with game honors of 22 points and four rebounds while hitting 12 of 16 foul shots. McNabb tallied 15 points and grabbed six rebounds. Murphy put up seven points, grabbed seven steals and dished out three assists. Lorena Rose made seven points and battled hard all night under the basket with the taller, bigger Lady Wildcats. Ten Lady Wildcats are 5’8″ or taller versus only three Lady Warriors.
Pendleton out-rebounded Pocahontas 32 to 17. Both squads shot 50 field goals, and the Wildcats were more accurate at 30 to 24 percent. The Warriors got 39 free throws to 15 for the Wildcats, but Pocahontas was more accurate at 69 to 53 percent.
Sandwiched between the two brawls on the road was a very civilized shortened home game at PCHS on January 15 between the visiting Harman varsity and the Pocahontas JV. Three of Harman’s six players are freshman, so the PCHS JV took the win 42-14. The fact that not one single foul was called in the game by the Beckley-area crew was something that I have never seen happen before. The civility and sportsmanship of these two squads was exemplary.
The Lady Warriors play Gilmer County (10-2) on Saturday, January 25 at 1 p.m. (varsity game follows JV game) in the semi-finals of the West Virginia Hometown Invitational Tournament. The winner will advance to St. Marys High School in St. Marys to play in the championship game on Saturday, February 1.