CHARLESTON - Pocahontas County coach Bob Sheets knew his team was going to need to do what it does best in order to knock off top-seed St. Marys Thursday in opening round action of the Class A state tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.
All season long the Warriors' offense was fueled by its ability to knock down shots from the outside, especially from behind the three-point arch. But on Thursday Pocahontas County's shots would not fall and the Blue Devils took control early and glided to a 67-43 win.
"It was pretty easy to see why the outcome was the way it was," Sheets said.
The Inter-Mountain Photo by Edgar Kelley
St. Marys’ Derek Renner goes up for a shot in front of Pocahontas County’s Matthew Arbogast Thursday at the Charleston Civic Center. .
"We came in a three-point shooting team and we were only able to hit three of them today. That was the story of the game."
Pocahontas County, which ends the season with a 14-12 record, hung tough early on and only trailed 16-8 after one quarter. But the Warriors inability to score in the second half caught up with them and St. Marys started heating up.
The Blue Devils started the second quarter on an 8-0 run and pushed their lead to 24-8 on a Justin Nichols layin at the 4:27 mark.
The Warriors answered with their lone field goal of the second stanza to cut the deficit to 24-10 before St. Marys reeled off eight more straight points to make it 32-10 with 2:42 left in the half.
The Blue Devils went on to push the margin to 38-12 at intermission, due mostly in part to Pocahontas County's 4-of -27 shooting from the floor through the first two quarters. The Warriors went 1-of-16 from behind the arc in the first half.
"It came down to shooting and we didn't get it done today," Sheets said. "St. Marys hit some shots in the first half and was able to build a big lead."
Pocahontas County hung tough in the second half as it was only outscored 19-16 in the third, and held a 15-10 scoring edge in the fourth.
"I was really happy with our effort in the second half," Sheets said. "We kept battling all the way until the end."
Derek Renner led the Blue Devils' offense with 16 points and five rebounds. K.D. Arnett and Austin Bayless followed with 13 points each. Andrew Cosper also reached double figures with 12 points.
"I was really pleased with the intensity we came out with," St. Marys coach Mark Barnhart said. "We had several different players, especially some off the bench contribute."
Jed Sheets led the way for the Warriors with 18 points and eight rebounds. Dillon Kelley followed with 16 points and Steve Halterman grabbed 13 rebounds.
It was the final game for coach Sheets, who is retiring from coaching after 30 years. "Coming down to Charleston and being able to finish here is real special," he said.