PCHS starts strong, eventually tames spunky Lady Bulldogs

Bruce McKean
Contributing Writer

PCHS 68
Tygarts Valley 55

Tygarts Valley and Pocahontas County County high schools girls basketball teams each brought a 3-3 record into their game at Dunmore December 22, so only one school was going  to leave with a winning record.  Longtime Class AAA Elkins High School coach Nancy Lewis (1987 to 2013), came out of retirement to take over the reins of the TVHS program this season when Mike DiPasquale gave up the job to take the TVHS athletic director position.  The Lady Bulldogs only won six games last season, so Coach Lewis has had a big job trying to revive the program.  Lewis led Coalton High School to two state tournaments and Elkins to eight.  Her win record at Elkins was tops in the history of that program.
The TVHS roster only lists 11 players including five freshman and no juniors, and only three players, including two starters, returned from last year.  Lewis hopes to have enough players next season to again field a JV program. 
Coach Mike Kane has his team focused on improving also, and he hopes to lead the Lady Warriors to Charleston for the third straight time in his fourth year at PCHS. Pocahontas dropped from the top-10 in the second Coaches Poll, released on December 20, from #9 preseason to #11 of the 13 Class A squads getting votes.  
The Lady Warriors, led by junior Mary Kelley’s nine first quarter points, started the game strong with a 6-0 run and led 11-2 midway through the first frame.  Another 6-0 run to finish out the stanza put PCHS up 19-7.  
We all quickly learned that this inexperienced TVHS team that starts two seniors, one sophomore and two freshmen, would not give up and stayed calm the entire game.  By the middle of the second quarter, Tygarts Valley led in three-pointers 3-2 and had a 7-0 run of their own.  The Bulldogs pulled within two points of PCHS at 22-24, but the Warriors ended the half on a 15-0 run to extend their lead to 17 points,  39-22.  Kelley accounted for 12 points in the second stanza.
The biggest lead of the game for PCHS was a 19-point lead twice in the third frame and once early in the final canto.  A 7-0 run by TVHS early in the fourth quarter moved them to within 12 points.  The game ended with a 68-55 PCHS win with TVHS taking the final period 16-14.
The Lady Bulldogs stayed in the game by hitting seven treys including three by freshman Courtney Haddix for nine total game points.  Sophomore Kaleah Pritt matched the nine points, pulled down nine rebounds and hit one three.  Freshman Abby Harris was team high scorer with 14 points including two threes.  Freshman Alexis Wiseman hit one three and scored 11 points.  Senior Caitlin Murphy grabbed 13 rebounds and tallied eight points while being out of the game some after aggravating a knee injury from last season.
PCHS’s Kelley had her career game with 28 points including three treys and some great defense.  Senior Melissa Murphy was again in double-digits with 12 points, five rebounds and more great defense.  Junior Sarah Ryder grabbed 11 rebounds, blocked three shots and tallied eight points.  Senior Kayleigh Arbogast contributed seven points, five steals and four rebounds.  Senior Michelle Murphy tallied five rebounds, four points, three deflections and blocks out like a taller post player.  Sophomore Briana Mills played two quarters and hit five of six free throws for five points.  Junior Tiffany Hoover in two quarters of play dished out five assists, grabbed four rebounds, and went 2 for 2 at the foul line.  Megan Galford continued to improve after a year away from the game and scored two points.
PCHS made 81 percent of their free throws (13 of 16) while TVHS connected on 60 percent (12 of 20).  TVHS grabbed more defensive rebounds, 24-19, while PCHS took in more offensive rebounds, 17-6.  PCHS improves to 4-3 and 3-1 in PVC play, and TVHS drops to 3-4 and 1-2 in the PVC.
Van will travel to PCHS Saturday, January 2, for two varsity games – girls at 1 p.m. and boys at 3 p.m. – and to Moorefield Friday, January 8, for two varsity games – girls at 5:45 p.m. and boys at 7:30 p.m. Class AA East Fairmont will travel to PCHS Saturday, January 9, for two girls games – JV at 2 p.m. and V at 4 p.m.
 

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