Lady Warriors stumble at States, still garner All-State Honors
Of the four Single A and two AAA girls basketball games played on the opening day of the West Virginia State Girls Basketball Tournament, the match between number four seed Pocahontas County (21-3) (number three, according to MetroNews) game with Wheeling Central (18-8) (number five, MetroNews) would be the closest. Central came into the game having made seven championship game appearances since 1994 and won its last Single A title in 2008.
The score was tied three times with two lead changes in the first quarter. The three top-scoring Lady Warriors- all starters-senior Shelby Snead and juniors Chloe Bland and Miranda McNabb, did all the scoring in the first quarter. Central would get five points from its bench.
PCHS got four points in the paint and five points from turnovers, and held a 7-2 lead in second chance points. But it was Central that held the lead at quarter's end. All 11 points for Wheeling Central were made from the foul line. The Maroon Knights hit seven of eight foul shots to the Lady Warriors' none.
Because the referees did not call it close in the first five games, Bland's and McNabb's early foul trouble was a game changer for PCHS.
McNabb hit the only Lady Warrior trey in the first quarter, but added two in the second, while Sara Jonese, off the bench, and Snead, dogged constantly by Central, each hit a three-point shot.
Central Coach Penn Kurtz was quoted in a Wheeling newspaper that his team had not faced another like PCHS this season with their tall girls shooting and hitting threes beyond the arc. MetroNews announcers often mentioned the Lady Warriors' ability to hit threes and The Charleston Gazette wrote about Jonese, McNabb and Snead all hitting treys in the span of 1:37 before the half.
Those threes would close the gap to one point at the half, with Central in the lead 23-22.
Wheeling got four points in the paint and four from turnovers, then two chance points, while the PCHS bench led 4-1 in the second. Central made three of seven foul shots, while PCHS managed only one of three. Central had five times the foul shots that PCHS had during the half, 15-3.
Bland and McNabb went to the bench in the second with three fouls each.
In the first half, PCHS hit five of 16 treys for 31.3 percent and Central hit one of seven for 14.3 percent. Central hit five of 14 twos and PCHS hit three of 11. Central hit 10 of their 15 foul shots versus one of three for the Lady Warriors.
Finally, in the third quarter, PCHS had four foul shots and hit three, while Central was two for two.
Six Warriors scored in the third quarter, Snead and Bland hitting threes, Lyndsey Barlow, Elizabeth Arbogast and McNabb, all added two points and Jonese, one.
Central went to the paint with with a 10-4 advanatage, and both teams got two points from turnovers.
Wheeling doubled PCHS's second chance points 6-3 and took the fast break points 2-0.
In 17 state tourneys, Central is 24-15, including their semi-final loss to St. Mary's. PCHS has had six state appearances (0-6) with the last five losses by only one-to-seven points.
Only number one seed St. Mary's (12-0) had a better record than PCHS (11-2) in their region.
Game high scorer was Colleen McCormick with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Bland was game-high rebounder with 14 and 13 points. Her effort broke the school record, 249, held by Mindy Sharp (2006). Bland's new school record is 255. Her career rebounding record is 593.
McNabb scored 11 points and blocked two shots. Snead tallied eight.
Central won the steals war 15-6.
Three Lady Warriors earned All-State Honors.
Bland, who was the driving force behind the Lady Warriors return to the state tournament, averaging 17.3 points per game, was named to the First Team, Snead to the Second Team and McNabb, honorable mention. Snead added 65 threes this season to her career record of 209 treys (2007-11). Her career points are at 1,023, second only to Jennifer Young (1994). McNabb led the Lady Warriors with 54 blocked shots on the season and an average of 90.5 points per game.
The Lady Warriors ended the season 21-3.
Only three seniors-Snead, Elizabeth Arbogast and Karen Wilfong-leave the team this year