The Pocahontas County Warriors played the Buckhannon-Upshur Pirates on Saturday afternoon in what many observers would call a “must-win” game for the Warriors, who are trying to establish themselves as a force in Class A basketball. With 11 games remaining, Saturday’s game was at the exact midway point in the season. A loss would be the team’s fourth in a row, leaving the Warriors at 5-6, struggling to get their heads back above water. A win would see the Warriors at 6-5, a confidence booster as they host rival Tucker County on Tuesday night.
The Warriors came together as a team on Saturday and got the win they needed, defeating the Pirates, 59-54. The Pirates keyed on the Warrior’s playmaker, Dalton Irvine, and were successful in holding the star junior to just 9 points. But the rest of the squad stepped up, with four players hitting double digits in the scoring department. J.D. Hensler, another standout junior, led the team with 14 points. Senior Cary Robertson, junior Braxton Rider and sophomore Brady Jones scored 10 points apiece in the inspiring team effort. Irvine led the team with 10 rebounds.
The team needed the confidence boost as they prepared to host the Tucker County Mountain Lions at Warrior Coliseum on Tuesday night. The Lions mauled Pocahontas in the first game of the season by 39 points. But the Warriors are a much different team than they were back in early December. Under the outstanding tutelage of Coach Tim McClung, the still-young Warriors, who list just two seniors on their roster, have grown by leaps and bounds this season.
The Warriors have a busy week ahead as they host Tucker County on Tuesday at 5:45 p.m.; host East Hardy on Thursday at 5:45 p.m.; visit Meadow Bridge on Friday at 5:45 p.m. and host Summers County on Saturday at 2 p.m. Those games will be reported in next week’s edition.