Taylor breaks PCHS career assists record

Pocahontas County High School Girls Basketball Head Coach Mike Kane congratulates Lady Warrior Alexa Taylor on breaking the PCHS Career Assists record in the second quarter of the PCHS vs Calhoun County game at Mt. Zion February 11. Taylor received a standing ovation and was recognized during half-time. Photo courtesy of Holly Taylor

Bruce McKean
Contributing Writer

PCHS Varsity, 49
Calhoun County Varsity, 38

Pocahontas County High School girls basketball Head Coach Mike Kane was having trouble finding an opponent to complete the school’s 22-game schedule. To do so, Kane agreed to a first-ever girls game with Calhoun County at Mount Zion for February 11, and next year at PCHS. 

Senior point guard Alexa Taylor, with 335 assists after the Elkins win, was closing in on the 338 career assists record graduate Jennifer Young earned from 1990-94. Young went on to an All-American career at Bridgewater College and induction into that school’s Hall of Fame in 2017. Young’s 1993-94 PCHS team is in the record book for the fewest regular season losses, two. They also hold records for the fewest total season losses, three (19-3) and the most regular season wins, 18 (18-2). Bob Sheets was coaching both the PCHS boys and girls programs during that time.

Calhoun County, who has played eight Class AA teams this season and won five of those, is ranked in four of the five poll/rankings from #8 to #13, and PCHS comes in from #3 to #5. It was senior night for the Red Devils, and a big crowd was on hand at the college-size gym and floor to honor their five seniors.  Alexa opened play with a three, and the home crowd was happy with the first quarter ending in a 9-9 tie. Pocahontas roared back with a 16-4 second quarter effort to take a 25-13 lead at the half. The last tie of the game was 11-11, and PCHS went on a 6-0 run and led from that point on. Alexa would get her third assist of the game to tie Young’s record with 3:30 to go in the second, and by the 1:17 mark, she had broken the record with her 339th career assist.  The PCHS fans gave her a standing ovation, complete with signs and balloons. Calhoun announced the record and introduced Alexa to the crowd at half-time.

The third quarter ended 9-8 in favor of CCHS, and the fourth was a 16-16 tie. The biggest PCHS lead was 15 (41-26), and the smallest lead was five (42-37). Game high scorer and only player to score in four quarters was Game high scorer and only player to score in four quarters was Laila “Calhoun at Calhoun” with 19 points, seven rebounds, four blocks and seven deflections. CCHS high scorer was sophomore Josie Montgomery with 13 points, six rebounds, seven of 10 foul shots and five of six in the final frame. Kira Bircher tallied 11 points including two threes, six rebounds, seven steals, five blocks, four assists and five deflections. CCHS senior Madison Dennis added 10 points and seven of those were in the third. Charity Warder compiled six points, five deflections, four rebounds and three blocks.  Jerrica Reed grabbed six rebounds. Kierstin Taylor scored four points, three steals and made one three. Sienna Bircher totaled four points, three rebounds and three deflections. Alexa finished with six assists and a career total of 341 assists.

CCHS is known for their great foul shooting, and they hit 17 of 22 (77%). PCHS only hit seven of 21 (33%). The gold and maroon out-rebounded the red devils 30-21. Both teams had 22 turn- overs each. PCHS improves to 15-4, and CCHS drops to 14-7. One senior Red Devil was devilish and was given a technical foul late in the game for tackling Tessa Kiner, who made one of her two foul shots. 

When athletic director Kristy Tritapoe and Kane learned that holding the Region III Section 1 games at the neutral site in Fayetteville was going to be expensive and take needed game proceeds away from all five schools, not to mention PCHS having the longest drive for up to three sectional games, Tritapoe made sure coaches understood the situation. The five schools re-voted, and Section 1 will now go back to higher seeds hosting all Region III Section 1 games. Once the seeding is announced, the #4 seed will host the #5 seed in a first game on Monday, February 24. The #1 seed will then host the winner of the #4/#5 game on Wednesday, February 26. The #2 seed will host the #3 seed also on Wednesday. The winners of the two Wednesday games will play for the Section 1 Championship on Friday, February 28. All games are supposed to start at 7 p.m.  

Calhoun County JV, 40

The first half of the JV game was an 18-18 draw, with PCHS taking the first 13-12 and CCHS taking the second 6-5. Calhoun started the third on a 7-0 run and took it 7-4 and the fourth 15-13, so Calhoun took the second half 22-17 and won the game 40-35. PCHS foul shooting, three of 15 (20%) also hampered the JV squad, as CCHS made a better 10 of 22 (45%). Both teams grabbed 35 rebounds, and turnovers were close, fewer for PCHS (28 to 32).

The Red Devils’ high scorers were sophomore #00 Ella Hess with a double-double of 13 points and 15 rebounds, senior Amber Hatfield with10 points and sophomore Allison Stevens with nine. Macaden Taylor was PCHS high scorer with nine points, 11 rebounds, four steals, two blocks and four deflections. Allyson Alderman produced eight points, six rebounds, three steals, five assists, two treys and two blocks. Makayla Ervine compiled eight points, five rebounds and five deflections. Tessa Kiner tallied five points, three rebounds, three assists, one trey and four deflections. Jazzlyn Teter hit one three and ended up with three each of rebounds, steals and deflections.  

Tucker County JV, 31

The PCHS JV travelled to Petersburg High School on Friday, February 14, to again participate in their Girls JV Classic tournament that they won last season, beating Class AA Hampshire 29-24 and Pendleton 46-37. Their first opponent on Friday was Tucker County, and at the end of one period of play, TCHS led 8-7. Macaden Taylor swished a three, the first of five that day for PCHS. Teter got hot in the second and nailed three treys and hit all 11 of her PCHS game-high points in the 12-10 quarter. After two PCHS led 19-18. The third stanza was a 7-7 tie, so PCHS still led by one after three, 26-25.  Ervine hit a three in the third. The fourth canto saw PCHS make four of eight free throws, and Tucker missed their two. The Lady Warriors hung on for a 9-6 quarter and a 35-31 win.  PCHS finished the season 2-1 versus Tucker.

Tucker was called for more fouls, 18-11, and PCHS made 8 of 14 (57%) foul shots versus 9 of 15 (60%) for TCHS. Other top scorers for PCHS were:  Ervine – 9, Macaden Taylor – 8 and Alderman – 4. Jacey Davis was high scorer for Tucker with seven.

East Hardy JV, 43

On Saturday, PCHS faced East Hardy in the championship with only seven PCHS players on the bench versus 10 on Friday. PCHS started strong with an 11-4 first and a 10-4 second to lead 21-8 at the half. EHHS’s press helped them take the third 20-11 but PCHS still led 32-28 after three.  Before the game ended PCHS lost two sophomores, Rayna Smith and Alderman, who got banged up and fouled out. PCHS did not make a field goal in the fourth and only made six of 16 foul shots, while EHHS made five field goals for 10 points and hit 5 of 14 foul shots. Ten fouls were called in the first half, five for each team, and 33 (16 and 17) in the second, so that half was a foul shooting contest.  East’s Taylor Strawderman was game-high scorer with 17 points, and Macaden Taylor was PCHS high-scorer with 13. Other top PCHS scorers were:  Ervine – 9, Teter – 6 and Haley Spencer – 5. PCHS drops to 8-8.

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