Since veteran Pocahontas County coach Bob Sheets announced that this will be his last season, his Warriors are facing the fact that each game could be his last.
But he won’t be hanging up his whistle or clipboard just yet.
Pocahontas County defeated host Fayetteville 44-35 Wednesday in a Class A Region 3 co-final at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Building.
The Warriors (14-11) advance to play in the state tournament at the Charleston Civic Center next week. Seeds and game times for Class A will be announced by the WVSSAC today.
“We didn’t want it to end,” said Pocahontas County senior guard Jed Sheets, also Bob’s son. “I want it more for him than anything.
“We’ll have to shoot it better and rebound better (next week).”
Jed led all scorers with 14 points. Senior forward Dillon Kelley added 13 for the Warriors.
Fayetteville’s Tylor Tabit, a senior guard, scored 12 points — seven coming in the final period as the Pirates tried to mount a comeback, down 27-19 after three quarters of play. Zack Semple also tallied 12 points, six coming in the fourth.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first half, with Pocahontas County clinging to a 17-13 advantage at the intermission.
“It was ugly, but we gutted it out,” said coach Sheets. “I’m real proud of our defense — that was the key.
Pocahontas County has successfully avoided ending its season while bidding farewell to its longtime coach.
Sheets has been a teacher at Pocahontas County High School for the past 35 years and a coach for the last 30. As his run comes to an end, he has 392 career wins and has led the Warriors to state tournament appearances in 1987, 1993 and 2009.
“This is our fourth trip to states,” Sheets said. It’s something that the kids dream about and it’s what motivates them to work hard in the offseason.
“We’ll probably end up being a 7 or 8 seed, but we’ll try to make them work hard and hope we find our shooting touch.”
It has been an up-and-down season for the Warriors, who dropped six straight games midseason before rallying to win seven of their final eight regular season contests. Pocahontas County knocked off Valley in the sectional opener before dropping a sectional final to Midland Trail.
Midland Trail has also advanced to the states with a 62-55 victory over Meadow Bridge in the other Class A Region 3 co-final Wednesday.
Fayetteville (11-14) lost five of its last seven regular season games, including its last three, before righting itself to pull off two close sectional victories — 44-43 over Greater Beckley Christian and 44-42 over Meadow Bridge.
“I’m proud of our kids, the way they played in the (sectional) tournament,” said Fayetteville coach Larry Spangler. “But Pocahontas County just outplayed us. They were the aggressor. And we were 0 for 25 from 3-points and 9 of 16 from the free throw line. They have a scrappy team and got most of the loose balls. You have to give them credit.”
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Pocahontas County 44, Fayetteville 35
Pocahontas County (14-11)
Tyler Davis 3 0-0 7, Skylar Knisely 0 5-8 5, Dillon Kelley 3 7-13 13, Steven Halterman 0 1-3 1, Matthew Arbogast 0 2-2 2, Jed Sheets 4 5-7 14, Cary Robertson 0 2-2 2. Totals: 11 20-33 44.
Tylor Tabit 3 6-10 12, Brandon Mathis 3 1-3 7, Brandon Dorsey 2 0-0 4, Zack Semple 5 2-3 12. Totals: 13 9-16 35.
PC 10 7 10 17 — 44
F 8 5 6 16 — 35
3-point goals — PC: 2 (Davis, Sheets); F: none; Fouled out — F: Dorsey.