By Stephen Smoot
Jacob and Brayden Beachler combined for 19 points, eight steals, and six blocked shots in Pendleton County’s win over an improving Pocahontas County squad Monday. Not unlike the Seattle Seahawks’ Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch, they, along with their teammates, took the game to the Warriors, overwhelming the home team.
Though the Wildcats won the tip off, the Warriors drew first blood, hitting a three-pointer only seconds into the game. Pendleton County answered decisively, however. Jacob Beachler found Clayton Kisamore with a pass, leading to a layup and his team’s first score. Josiah Kimble 20 seconds later drained his first three-point shot of the night.
Clayton Kisamore subsequently hit a layup off of a Eurostep move, another short basket off of a steal, a free throw, and two three-pointers. His explosion of production put the Wildcats up 16-9 as the Warriors battled to keep pace.
Pendleton County methodically built its lead in two major ways, using defensive plays to create offense and running plays all the way through to find open shots. The steady leadership of Dusty Smith at point guard contributed considerably, as always, to offensive success. Coach Jeremy Bodkin also reached deep into his bench early as he prepares his team to face the postseason with as much experience as possible.
The Wildcat defense continued to disrupt the Warriors both near the basket and beyond the three-point line. The first quarter scoring ended with Jacob Beachler hitting a free throw, then taking an offensive rebound back up for a layup as the last second ticked off the clock in the first. The Wildcats led 28-13 as time expired.
Pendleton County looked much more comfortable offensively as the second quarter opened. Kimble took a steal all the way in for a layup 30 seconds into the action, extending the lead to 30-15. Brayden Beachler blocked a shot from behind at the 6:52 mark, then hit a three-pointer only 20 seconds later. Kisamore also continued to serve as a catalyst with timely defense and seemingly effortless scoring drives to the basket.
Defense continued to dominate for the Wildcats. In the last minute of the half, Cashton Kisamore blocked a shot, followed by Brady Bowers disrupting a Warrior play, then stealing the ball. In the last action of the half, Smith used a Brayden Beachler pick to free himself for a three to set the lead at 53-30.
Second half action opened as the first half ended, with a Pendleton County three-pointer, courtesy of Chase Owens after several passes. Passes and cuts for the Wildcat offense looked crisp and were effective. Pocahontas County at the outset used effective passing to locate players open near the basket who hit their shots.
The Wildcats continued to score, sometimes in spectacular fashion. Jacob Beachler took a steal and drove to the basket, finishing the play with a thunderous dunk that even earned cheers from the Warrior student section and lifted the score to 61-34. Shortly thereafter, Smith found Owens open for a score that gave his team a 30-point lead. Kimble helped the Wildcats to finish the quarter as it started, with a made three-point shot.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Connor Armentrout showed his defensive tenacity covering opponents well and grabbing a steal. He also scored a layup with 5:23 left in the game. Not long after, Evan Teter executed a quick post move that opened him up for a layup then took the ball from his Warrior opponent. Cashton Kisamore took the ball down low and drew a foul, then hit both of his free throws. Dustin Vandevander closed scoring in the game with a layup that set the final score at 81-42.