Lady Warriors voted #1 seed in sectional play
Pocahontas County High School girls basketball head coach Mike Kane attended the Region 2 sectional basketball seeding meeting on Sunday, February 10. Coaches could attend the meeting or just mail in their ballots to seed the teams. When the ballots were later tallied, the Lady Warriors were voted the #1 seed in Section 2, and Tucker County was voted the #1 seed in Section 1. Since only five of the six schools in Section 2 have girls basketball teams, the lowest two seeds, #5 Paw Paw (1-16) and #4 East Hardy (5-16), played February 19, at East Hardy in a play-in game. The winner of that game will then play at #1 seed PCHS on Thursday, February 21, at 7 p.m. if East Hardy prevails and at 6 p.m. if Paw Paw wins. East Hardy beat Paw Paw 66-27 on February 11. #3 seed Pendleton County (11-7) will host #4 Moorefield (6-15) on Thursday at 7 p.m. The winners of the Thursday’s games will play for the Section 2 championship at Petersburg High School on Saturday, February 23 at 7 p.m.
In Section 1, #6 South Harrison (1-18) plays at #3 Notre Dame (9-12), and #5 Harman (2-12) plays at #4 Union (6-12), both on Monday. The winner of Monday’s first game will play #1Tucker County, and the winner of the second game will play #2 Tygarts Valley, both on Wednesday at Alderson-Broaddus College at 6 and 8 p.m.. The Section 1 championship will be Friday at 7 p.m., also at A-B. Only in the sectional championships do both the winning and losing teams advance to play in one of two regional games in each of the four regions.
All eight Class A regional games will be played at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 28. All Section 1 champions host the Section 2 runners-up, and all Section 2 champions host the Section 1 runners-up in the regional games. The eight winners in the regional games in each class advance to the state tournament, and all eight Class A schools play on Wednesday, March 6, this year with the four winners advancing to play again on Friday, March 8.
The coaches of all the teams who make it to regional play in each class vote on the seeding for the state tournament. Ballots of the eight winning schools are used to seed the eights schools in each class.
The #6 (AP Poll) and #7 (Coaches) PCHS girls basketball team traveled Friday to #11 (Coaches) Charleston Catholic for a rescheduled game on Saturday at the huge CCHS Athletic Complex up on a hill near the Charleston airport in the Hillcrest Office Park. The facility used to be an indoor tennis stadium, and it is nicer than many college facilities with two huge gyms side by side. It was a great place to play just before tournament time.
Unlike when these two teams played at PCHS on January 12, it did not take five minutes for the teams to break the ice and start scoring. The Lady Warriors took that first game 43-37. Senior Samantha Fletcher scored a basket quickly for CCHS, and sophomore Tristin Day, PCHS season high scorer, quickly matched her effort to tie the contest at 2-2. PCHS took the lead after two ties at 7-6 and would never trail again. Day scored eight in the first, and senior point guard Olivia Workman put up four points. PCHS led 14-11 at the end of one. Five CCHS girls shared the scoring, and no more than three Irish would score in any of the final three frames.
Day again led the Warrior charge in the second with six points, including three of four foul shots, and sophomore Bobbie McNabb was right behind with five points. Fletcher made all but two of the Irish points in the second with eight points while only hitting two of five foul shots. Senior and second in season scoring Heather Snead had four points with 2:56 to go in the first half when a guard for CCHS drove hard right into Snead causing her to hit the back of her head. Snead had to be taken from the floor. She was charged with a foul that was protested by the Warrior crowd that equaled or exceeded the number of the Irish fans. The circumstances of the charge and foul were an exact replay of a charge that Snead took at Alleghany, Virginia, earlier in the season. A certified CCHS trainer ruled that Snead could not return to the game. Pocahontas held a 31-21 half-time lead.
In practice at PCHS on Friday before departing for the capital city, Snead was hitting every three she shot, and Coach Kane joked that she needed to save some for Saturday. Freshman speedster and 70 percent free throw shooter Melissa Murphy was already not being subbed into the game due to not feeling well before the game. Charleston began chipping away at the lead with Snead and Murphy sidelined and with an eight-point effort by Fletcher in the third, including four of four foul shots, CCHS closed the gap to 39-34 by the end of the third. Murphy played in the third and made four of the eight points.
Day, who was held scoreless in the third, and Murphy both again drew some fouls by driving to the basket. Workman, Murphy and Day hit six of 10 foul shots as the Irish had to foul in the final canto. With 17.3 seconds to go in the game, Catholic pulled within two 47-45 on a shot by freshman Raegan Palmer. PCHS missed two foul shots, and Catholic just missed a three and the chance to take the lead. With 2.4 seconds to go, Day, who shoots 70 percent at the foul line, was fouled and hit both free throws. CCHS called a timeout and attempted a court-length pass that was intercepted by Murphy mid-court and kept away from Charleston. Pocahontas improves to 15-5, and the second games with both Allegheny and Tygarts Valley could not be rescheduled. Catholic drops to 8-17 with the 49-45 PCHS coveted win.
Day put up 20 points and was high scorer for the 10th time in 20 games this season and in double digits for the 13th time. Her tally included three treys and seven of eight free throw shooting, six rebounds and two assists. McNabb connected for seven points, six rebounds and two blocks. Murphy tallied seven points off the bench in the second half and hit five of eight free throws while driving to the basket and drawing fouls. Workman scored five points, grabbed five rebounds and dribbled through the press of Catholic all game long at the point guard position. Snead, who had to sit the rest of the game with 2:56 to go in the second frame, accounted for four points, five rebounds and two steals in that short period. Junior Allison Jonese, who returned this season after a one year absence from basketball, put up four points, two blocks and two steals. Junior Marka Kane came off the bench to grab four rebounds and score two points.
Catholic was led in scoring by Fletcher with 18 points, freshman Peyton Mullen with nine points and seven rebounds, Palmer with eight points and Anna Whelan with four points and seven rebounds. PCHS out-rebounded CCHS 28-19 and hit 15 of 22 (68 percent) versus seven of 17 (41 percent) for the Irish. For a team with three new coaches that also lost four record-setting starters - Chloe Bland, Miranda McNabb, Erin White and Lyndsey Barlow - to graduation, coaches and players alike need to be congratulated on a great regular season effort. Bland is now playing basketball at West Virginia Wesleyan College and McNabb at Alderson-Broaddus College.