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PCHS Lady Warriors punch 10th ticket to Charleston’s Big Dance

Bruce McKean
Contributing Writer

PCHS Varsity, 77
Greenbrier West, 40

The Pocahontas County High School Lady Warriors are heading to the 44th girls State Basketball Tournament at the Charleston Civic Center. This will be the 10th trip to the tournament in school history and the first time since 2015.  

PCHS made it to states in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.

Will this be the ticket that gets our first quarter-final win?

If the maroon and gold play the way they did against Greenbrier West March 4, the answer to that question is “Absolutely!”

West Virginia Class A Region III Section 1 champion / #1 seed PCHS won that game, 77-40, at home over the Section 2 Runner-up / #2 seed Greenbrier West Cavaliers in one of the two Region III co-finals.

There were seven other class A regional co-final games Wednesday, and Pocahontas had the biggest margin of victory, 37 points. The two closest games were Tucker’s four-point win, 64-58, over Doddridge County at Tucker; and Summers County’s come-from-behind overtime win, 47- 43, over Charleston Catholic at Summers.  

When the new state seeding, by vote of the coaches who made it to regional contests, was announced, PCHS (21-4) was voted the #4 seed and will play #5 seed Summers County (19-6) on Thursday, March 12, at 9 p.m., the sixth of six games on that day: four Class A and two AAA games.

The two schools each won at home in the regular season this year and last year. The Class A seed order is: 1 – Huntington St. Joseph, 2 – Parkersburg Catholic, 3 – Gilmer County, 4 – PCHS, 5 – Summers, 6 – Wheeling Central, 7 – Tucker, and 8 – St. Mary’s.  

St. Joseph advanced to the first state championship in 2008, and they lost to Wheeling Central 37-41. Since then, they have played in every state tournament and won nine of 11 championships from 2009 to 2019 and taken second twice – in 2016 and 2018.  

If PCHS beats Summers on Thursday, they will most likely play #1 St. Joseph, since their opponent on Thursday is #8 seed St. Mary’s.  

Tucker has to play the only undefeated team, #2 Parkersburg Catholic.

Charleston Catholic gave the Summers County Bobcats all they could handle in the other Region III co-final on Wednesday. Catholic took the first quarter 15-5 and still led 39-31 with just over four minutes in the fourth. Summers mounted an 8-0 run at that point and sent the game into overtime. The Bobcats got lucky when the Irish missed their shots in OT, and the Bobcats won their fifth straight regional in a row, 47- 43. Since Summers holds the win streak state record of 105 straight wins, the recent streak is only a fraction of their total trips to states.

The Lady Warriors’ game on Wednesday opened with two quick threes by senior Jerica Reed for a 6-0 PCHS start, and the girls led the entire game.

Senior Laila Calhoun got a quick foul call in between the two treys. Senior post Charity Warder scored the rest of our first quarter points, eight, and PCHS led 14-8 after one.  PCHS upped their field goal shooting from 42% in the first to 67% in the second. Calhoun was called for a second foul and went to the bench after jumping into the scoring with 10 points.

Senior Alexa Taylor with eight, including two threes, also jumped into the scoring. At the half West trailed 14-36 after a 21-6 PCHS effort in the second. Senior Kira Bircher joined the scoring in the third with six points, including one trey, and Alexa Taylor hit two more threes, to push up the PCHS lead to 57-24 with a 21-10 third period. The Lady Warriors never let up with all 10 players seeing action. West had their best quarter in the fourth when the PCHS bench saw more action, but the home team still took the fourth 20-16.

The eight PCHS treys were the most this season.

Foul shooting, 19 of 25 (76%), was the best this season, while West hit 11 of 25 (44%). The Lady Warriors grabbed 45 rebounds to 30 for West, and the only game with more rebounds this season was the 52 boards in our defeat of Summers 60-52 on January 10 at PCHS.

The Cavaliers only committed 17 turnovers to 26 miscues by PCHS.

Calhoun had a double-double of 22 points,10 rebounds and three blocks. Alexa Taylor tallied 16 points, six rebounds and five assists. Warder followed with a double-double of 15 points, 10 rebounds, seven deflections and four assists.

Reed finished with eight points, and Sienna Bircher grabbed seven rebounds and scored four points while blocking two shots.  
Kierstin Taylor dished out three assists and scored two points.

I am sure that PCHS head coach Mike Kane, in his third trip to states, and assistant coaches Allen Taylor and Chloe Bland will have our girls ready on Thursday.  

Bland made it to states as a player all four years at PCHS from 2009 through 2012, and her four teams lost by seven, one, seven and two points respectively.  

Seven of the nine PCHS girls’ losses at states were to private schools.  

See you in Charleston on Thursday!

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