It’s a long time till December, but the Pocahontas County High School varsity basketball coaches provided a preview of what fans should expect this basketball season. Both the boys and girls teams played summer ball, as allowed by the state commission overseeing high school athletics. Based on the coaches’ reports from games this summer, Warriors fans should be very excited for snow to fly and hoops to get started in Pocahontas County.
Lady Warriors packed with experience and talent
Fans have come to expect excellence, year in and year out, from the Lady Warriors basketball squad. Coach Tim McClung built a stellar program with the girls and the team could not have found a better replacement than current third-year coach Mike Kane. These two great coaches have spoiled us with winning seasons for several years. Last year’s squad did not disappoint, finishing 16-8 overall.
It’s difficult to guess who will be the most valuable player for the Lady Warriors in 2014-15. The team returns four starters, including first-team All-State Tristin Day, coming back as a senior with her unbridled competitive drive. All-State Honorable Mention Bobbie McNabb comes back a senior with more height and deadly accurate shooting. Natalie Hartzell, a consummate team player, and athletic Olivia Knisley round out Kane’s senior class this season.
“We have four returning starters and we have some girls who come off the bench with lots of playing time,” said Kane. “As our bench gets stronger, our expectations get higher also because of the four returning starters. If we can mesh together and come together, we’ll be a pretty good team.”
Kane is pleased with the team’s performance this summer.
“Our rebounding really looked pretty good,” he said. “We created a lot of turnovers on defense, out of the zone. We tried to work on man-to-man some. We shoot the ball really well. If we can keep our unforced turnovers down, we should be in the ballgame with a lot of teams.”
The Lady Warriors open their season at Bath County on December 3. Double A East Fairmont and A Van are new additions to the schedule this year.
Bigger, badder Warriors – a force to be reckoned with
Third year head coach Tim McClung took over a very young Warriors basketball team in 2011 and has turned it into a well-oiled machine. The Warriors have gained considerable size and were virtually unbeatable in their summer practice series. Stephen Mick returns as a senior and looms above the court at 6’4”. More importantly, the players come back with greater maturity, experience and knowledge of the game – thanks to McClung’s outstanding mentorship. The team has come a long way in three years and looks to shake things up in single A basketball this season.
McClung said the Warriors were nothing less than impressive this summer
“We had about 18 games this summer and played in different tournaments,” said McClung. “We had a winning record in each one of them. The kids are learning how to win. This summer, the kids have played well for three and four quarters, consistently. Hopefully, we can carry that right over into the season.”
The Warriors lost no players to graduation and return every player from last year’s roster. More than anything else, that indicates just how young the Warriors were when McClung took the helm. Four very skilled seniors will lead the Warriors this year: big, tall Mick; lightning fast point guard Cary Robertson; physical Adam Irvine; and smart, steady Phillip Green.
“That group has played together all four years,” said McClung. “This will be their third year with me. They’re learning the system and getting used to the things that I want to do. We’re pushing the ball up the floor really well. We played really good man-to-man defense – we concentrated on that all summer. We think that will be a good carryover.”
The Warriors open their season at Tucker County on December 9. Meadow Bridge and Van are new additions to the schedule.