Lady Warriors notch win over Tucker County
Dunmore, W.Va. –
Pocahontas County was down by one point, 37-38, in a game with PVC co-power Tucker County on Friday, January 4, with 7.5 seconds to go in a game that was already marked by eight ties and eleven lead changes. Sophomore Bobbie McNabb quickly dribbled down the floor and right into a crowd of waiting Tucker County defenders that included their 6’1″ center junior Savannah Ambrose. Somehow McNabb slipped through and made an acrobatic layup without fouling or being fouled. That shot gave the lead back to PCHS, 39-38, but still with time for Tucker to mount an attack. The shot made McNabb team high scorer with ten points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Nobody doubted that the ball would end up in the hands of one of Tucker’s two game high scorers, junior Stephanie Betler (14 points) or senior Amber Evans (16 points). Both athletic players love to drive to the basket. A time out was called, and PCHS head coach Mike Kane told his players to surround Ambrose, the tallest player on the court, and maybe his team could make it hard for her to receive the inbounds pass and get it to one of their top two driving scorers. Neither team had pressed much until the end of the fourth quarter, and both teams would still score their fewest points this season. PCHS gave Ambrose no room to move on the inbound pass to her, and to the joy of the biggest crowd of the season, she double-dribbled trying to create space with 1.6 seconds to go. The Lady Warriors were able to get the ball in play and let time expire, and the big crowd of Warrior faithful wildly celebrated the team effort.
Last season Tucker beat PCHS by four points at Dunmore 53-49, and PCHS beat Tucker twice, by four points at Hambleton 68-64 and in the Potomac Valley Conference (PVC) Championship game at Elkins by three points, 55-52. The PCHS win at TCHS last season was the first since 2006. Tucker has played in 20 state tournaments versus seven for PCHS. The Lady Mountain Lions have won four titles and finished runners-up twice.
PCHS came into the game ranked #7 in the Class A Coaches Poll and #8 in the Max Preps rankings, while Tucker held the exact reverse rankings respectively of #8 and #7. The Lady Warriors are the only undefeated team left in Potomac Valley Conference play with a 2-0 record and in first place. Tygarts Valley (5-1) is second, while Tucker (2-1) is third. A PVC Night of Champions will not be held this season, so regular season records will determine the final placement. The Lady Mountain Lions drop to 5-4, and their other three losses were to powers Class AAA #5 John Marshall (9-2) and Class A #3 Wheeling Central Catholic (9-1), both by 13 points, and an 11-point loss to always tough Southern of Maryland. The three PCHS losses were to Class AA #4 Clay County (9-0) by 37 points and AA #5 North Marion (4-1) by only 7 points. North Marion dropped one class this season and were state AAA champs in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The third PCHS loss was to to Class A #4 Clay-Battelle (10-0) by 37 points at the Fairmont Senior Holiday Classic; PCHS missed over a week of practice right before that game due to county illness and then bad weather, and being out-of-shape showed in their play.
The first quarter in this key match-up ended in an 8-8 tie. Freshman speedster Melissa Murphy came off the bench in the second quarter, and she turned up her pace and thus the pace of the team another notch, and by game’s end the 5’2″ guard had contributed nine points and six rebounds. PCHS led at the half by one, 20-19 and led by three after three, 31-28. PCHS hit six of nine free throws in the first three quarters, but nerves in the fourth quarter resulted in only two falling out of nine tries. Tucker made 12 of 22 free throws.
Six girls scored for each team, but the bottom four scorers for Tucker only totaled eight points, while the bottom four scorers for PCHS contributed 20 points. PCHS senior Olivia Workman and sophomore Tristan Day each scored seven points. Day hit the only three in the game, and Workman grabbed six rebounds. Workman’s quick thinking late in the game resulted in her leaving the game with her fifth foul, but it was a crucial decision as seconds were ticking off the clock. Senior Heather Snead snared ten rebounds and two of the team’s five steals. Coach Kane was proud of his shorter team that out rebounded the visitors 40 to 30.
PCHS travels to Pendleton County (3-4) on Friday, January 11, for a PVC contest, and the JV game begins at 6:15 PM. Another big crowd is expected at PCHS on Saturday afternoon at 2 PM. Charleston Catholic (4-5) travels to PCHS for a first ever match up during the regular season . Catholic is not ranked currently under new head coach Paul Sutherland, and that is a rare occurrence. PCHS has played Catholic in regional and state quarter-final play, and the Charleston private school has always prevailed.