Pocahontas and Bath to Play for AMR Championship
Hot Springs, VA – The Pocahontas County Warriors and the Bath County Chargers were victorious in the first round of the Allegheny Mountain Radio basketball tournament and advance to the championship game tonight at 8 p.m.
Bath County defeated the Faith Christian Warriors of Roanoke, 64-36. Chargers coach Steve Shave says it was a much-needed win.
“Overall team effort,” he said. “We played well as a team. It was the first time we played 32 minutes of good basketball the whole game.”
“Our fellows played with heart tonight and a desire and it was a game we needed to have.”
Shaver says the Chargers need to stick to their gameplan to take home the championship trophy tonight.
“We want to play our game,” he said. “That’s the thing we have to do – is get in a rhythm where we play our game. That’s so important to us is to play within ourselves and not have to push into something that we’re not comfortable doing.”
Faith Christian coach Pete Alterio says his young team must play more aggressively to win the third place trophy in tonight’s contest with the Highland Rams.
“First thing we’re going to need to do is eliminate the 30 turnovers,” he said. “Hurt us bad. We just weren’t aggressive tonight, at all. We played really nervous. I think because it’s our first away game. We’re really young.”
Alterio says he expects his Warriors to fight much better tonight.
“I think they’re pretty mad, right now,” he said. “I think you’ll see a different basketball team tomorrow night. I think halftime helped us, calmed them down a little bit. We came out a lot more aggressive the second half.
Ryan Plecker led the Chargers with 14 points in the first-round game and Joseph Wampler led Faith Christian with seven points.
In the second game Wednesday night, the Pocahontas Warriors defeated the Highland Rams, 71-47. Warriors coach Bob Sheets says he’s happy the Christmas break didn’t affect his team’s red-hot shooting.
“Overall, it was a good first game back after we had four days off for Christmas,” he said. “I thought we shot the ball really well in the first half. We hit a lot of open looks that we’re perfectly capable of hitting, but I thought, overall, we shot the ball real well.”
“Deficiencies, like we talked about at halftime – we really didn’t switch on our man-to-man defense really effectively, the way we’d like to.”
Sheets says he has some concerns going into the championship game against Bath County.
“They’re big,” he said. “Quite frankly, they’re bigger than we are. The Plecker kid they’ve got put up double-figure points against us and he’s a real fine athlete. So, we’re going to have to do a real good job on him.”
The veteran coach says Pocahontas’ earlier home victory over the Chargers was no walk in the park.
“Ten-point game at the half and we never got what you would call a real comfortable working margin against them until into the fourth quarter.”
Coach Curt Gutshall said his Highland Rams couldn’t stop Pocahontas’ accurate outside shooting.
“Our defense was a little slow to begin with and let them get those three-point shots,” he said. “That’s what we talked about in practice and we knew Pocahontas did that, but we didn’t get to their three-point shooters and contest the shots enough and they sunk them.”
Gutshall says his team has to tighten up their defense to win the third place trophy in tonight’s 6 p.m. game against Faith Christian.
“We’re going to put a lot of pressure on the ball tomorrow night,” he said. “Maybe, if I can get my guys to tighten up on their defense. Usually, that’s our strong point – tonight, it seemed to be our weakest thing.”
“Overall, I see a lot of progress and what we’re shooting for is getting ready for district play because our goal is to make the regionals this year,” he said. “At least get one game in the regionals and we feel that we can do it, even though we’re young.”
Both of tonight’s tournament games at Bath County will be broadcast across the entire AMR network. Faith Christian and Highland tip off in the third-place trophy game at 6 p.m. Pocahontas and Bath square off in the championship game at 8 p.m., following a live performance by country musicians Daryn Burkholder and Sara Hall.