The 8th ranked AAA 16-5 Poca Dots girls’ basketball team came to Fairlea Thursday evening, Feb. 16, to play Greenbrier East. East won 43-34, in a tough defensive contest.
Poca moves the ball well, which helped against East’s press. East was up 11-10 at the end of the first quarter, but Poca had the advantage at halftime, 20-14. The Dots didn’t have a big center to match up with East’s Piper Nunley, but they were able to penetrate into the lane at times. Their outside shooting was not clicking for most of this game.
At the start of the third quarter, East put together an impressive run. They rattled off ten consecutive points before Poca got a bucket. That made the count 24-22, East, and at the end of the third quarter it was knotted up, 27 all. Both teams worked the perimeter, looking for an opening. Both defenses were tight; a few players were fouled. With just under three minutes remaining Abbie Bartenslager hit a shot in the lane to make it 36-32. From there to the finish Poca hit just one basket, getting outscored 7-2 to reach the final tally.
East was led by Haley McClure’s 16 points. Kiara Smith had six assists. Piper Nunley blocked three shots and had seven rebounds.
Coach Jim Justice said before the game, “We’ll start with a 2-3, a diamond press. It’s an excellent team. We’ll have to adjust as we go. We watched a lot of film. We know them like the back of our hand. They’re good shooters, they’re quick, and they have a lot of speed. Number one and number two are tough players.”
At halftime, Justice said, “We’re going with a bigger lineup, we’re going to put Talyor Dunbar and Piper both in there, and play a high-low, and do a 3-2 defense, two bigs down low, three on the perimeter.”
Afterward he commented, “We scored the first 10 points of the third quarter, then we switched back to a little smaller to give us a little speed at the end of the game. We fouled at the end, so we could slow them down by fouling, takes more clock time.”
Lyrica Pence, a student at East, did a great job singing the National Anthem before the game.