Defense, Rebounding Propel Pocahontas Area into Region Final

Pocahontas Area overcame a slow start, and then held South Central Calhoun scoreless for the last four minutes in the 8th-ranked Indians 50-43 victory in tonight’s (Fri) 2A girls basketball region semifinal in Pocahontas.

The Titans hit four threes in the opening three minutes to take a 12-0 lead. Pocahontas Area bounced back to get within 14-11 after the 1st quarter. A three by Paige Melohn started the 2nd quarter scoring to tie the game, and then Poky took their first lead at 16-14. There were three more lead changes in the 2nd quarter, and a three by Brenna McAlister in the final seconds of the 2nd quarter gave SCC a 24-21 lead at halftime.

The Titans stretched the lead to five early in the 3rd. Poky then scored five straight to tie the game. SCC regained a two point lead, but then the Indians took the lead for good at 29-28. An 11-2 Poky run gave Poky a 37-30 with under a minute to go in the 3rd, and the lead was 39-35 after the 3rd quarter.

SCC got within one point on three occasions from that point. A three by Riley Batta cut the Poky lead to 44-43 with four minutes left. From there, Poky’s defense locked down, they forced a shot clock violation, Carly Janssen scored a basket, and Akaysa Duitscher hit consecutive free throws with 1:08 and then 37 seconds left.

Poky had a plus-16 advantage in rebounding, including 20 offensive rebounds compared to SCC’s ten o-boards. Janssen scored 10 of her 14 points in the 2nd half. Melohn had 10 of her 12 points in the 1st half, including four threes. Postgame comments from Poky co-head coach Eric Francis can be heard below.

McAlister had four threes and 14 points, Kylee Schleisman 12, and Riley Batta 10. Poky’s defense held SCC to 29-percent shooting from the field.

South Central Calhoun wraps up at 16-6. They bid farewell to seniors Batta, Schleisman, and Sophie McKinney.

Pocahontas Area improves to 19-4, and will play this coming Wednesday, February 22nd at 7pm at Carroll High School against #11 Underwood in a region final with a state tournament berth on the line. The game will be broadcast on 92.9FM KKIA.