Tucker County 56
The Pocahontas County High School Lady Warriors will not be heading to Charleston.
PCHS was playing this year in their 15th straight regional game at Tucker on Wednesday, March 2, and had advanced with 14 straight sectional championships from 2002 through 2014. PCHS lost to East Hardy, 38-53, this year at Petersburg High School in their 15th straight sectional championship appearance, but both teams who make it to a section final now advance to regional play.
Tucker County will be heading to its 12th straight state tournament after winning their sectional and regional championships, and both were 12th straight wins.
As PCHS head coach Mike Kane stated after losing 33-56 this year at Tucker in the Region II Co-final: “The Lady Warriors played much harder than the final score indicated,” head coach Mike Kane said after the 33-56 loss in the Region II Co-final. PCHS out-rebounded TCHS 9-8 in the first quarter, and TCHS had two fewer turnovers, three vs five for PCHS. At the end of the first quarter, PCHS was only down 8-12.
TCHS out-rebounded PCHS by 12 to six in the second frame, and each team committed six turnovers. The Lady Warriors only trailed by five points at 16-21 when Tucker took off on a 7-0 run to end the second quarter at 28-16, a 12-point lead.
By the end of the third quarter, which Pocahontas took 11-10, the Mountain Lions’ lead was cut to 11 points, 38-27. TCHS then went on an 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter when PCHS switched to man-to-man defense from zone to force Tucker not to pass in order to stall the game. The smaller PCHS team could not stop the tall and fast Tucker team in man-to-man. PCHS also only shot nine percent (1 for 11 shots) in the fourth canto versus 40 percent in the third quarter.
PCHS drops to 12-10 on the season, and Tucker improves to 21-3 and heads to Charleston with the #3 seed by vote of the 16 coaches who made it to regionals. TCHS will face #6 seed Notre Dame for the fourth time this season in the 9:30 a.m. game on Thursday, March 10, and Tucker has won all three match-ups by eight, nine and eight points.
Game high scorer for Tucker County was sophomore Sydney Nestor with 22 points including one three and 12 rebounds followed by sophomore Sydney Moore with 14 points including three treys and 5 rebounds. PCHS high scorer was again senior All-PVC first teamer for two years, Melissa Murphy, with 10 points, six steals, five rebounds, two assists and two deflections. Seniors Michelle Murphy and Kayleigh Arbogast each scored six points, and Michelle hit one three and connected on three of four free throws. Arbogast swished two treys. Junior Sarah Ryder grabbed 10 rebounds and scored five points. Sophomore Briana Mills added four points and three rebounds off-the-bench.
Junior Mary Kelley and seniors Michelle and Melissa Murphy led the defensive effort in the game. Michelle Murphy handled the point guard position for sister Melissa very well in this game while Melissa was moved to shooting guard to give her more opportunity to score even more points as she has done in the last half of the season. TCHS senior Madison Reall scored eight points. Eight Mountain Lions and six Lady Warriors scored.
Tucker camped at the foul line and was awarded nine more free throws and hit 12 of 27 (44 percent), while Pocahontas connected on eight of 18 (44 percent). To say that the PCHS fans, parents and coaches were not happy about some calls and some no-calls by the officials would be a big understatement.
For the second straight season PCHS will lose four talented seniors including three of whom are starters – the Murphy twins, Arbogast and Megan Galford. When you consider the height, scoring production and record-breaking stats that had to be replaced this season due to the 2015 graduation, it has been remarkable that Coaches Kane and Mike Murphy had the Lady Warriors playing as well as they did and finished with a 12-10 winning record while playing a very tough schedule.
Coach Kane is already working on scheduling opponents for next season when PCHS moves to Region III that will have 13 schools including the likes of Summers County (moving down from Class AA), Charleston Catholic (moving from Region IV), Fayetteville, Webster County (moving down from Class AA) and Mount View (moving down from Class AA).