The 2013-2014 season has shined a light on what appears to be a bright future for the Pioneers and Lady Pioneers.
The Pioneers have spent the last five years rebuilding following an exciting 20 win season in 2008-2009. Now, with only a month left in the season, the Pioneers are (12-6) and their (9-5) MEC record places them in a tie for third in the conference.
After losing their star player, Lamar Mallory, against WV Wesleyan, the youth-filled Pioneers have gained victories over two teams that had previously defeated them this season.
For the women, no one was certain heading into the season just how this season would compare to the tradition of excellence the Lady Pioneers have presented on the court in recent years.
After former Head Coach Bunky Harkleroad accepted a D-I position just days before the season started, current Head Coach Charles "Cookie" Marshall was tossed into the position.
However, his familiarity with the system has proven he was/is the man for the job. After suffering their first conference loss a few short weeks ago, the Lady Pioneers have been on fire, determined to prove they are a league above their opponents.
Despite the solid seasons to date, the next few weeks will definitely play a role in defining the memory of the 2013-2014 season. However, two wins over Shepherd this past Saturday, Feb. 1, provided a great outlook for the contests to come.
In the Pioneers' first MEC game of the year, way back in November, the Shepherd Rams had sent the men's team home with a 20 point loss, 78-98. With that memory in the back of their mind, the Pioneers were out for revenge.
While the Pioneers got on the board first, the Rams quickly took the lead. In fact, over the first six minutes of the game, Shepherd led, at one point by as many as six points.
However, at 14:01, Kevin Gray hit an easy lay-up to tie the game up, 13-13.
From there, the Pioneers took control. Just after the 10 minute mark, freshman Brett Morris used a lay-up to put the Pioneers up by 10, 34-24.
Unfortunately, by the half, the Rams had not only caught up but took the lead, 45-48.
The two teams went back-and-forth through the first five minutes of the second half, but a Donte Morales three pointer at 14:20 took the lead for the Pioneers, and they never looked back, pushing a head for a, 96-92, victory.
For Morris, it was a huge game, as the true freshman out of Webster County scored 17 points.
Junior Jordan McCloud also had a huge game. The 6'7", JUCO transfer scored 15 points (seven-of-eight from the floor) and pulled down 16 rebounds.
Also in double digits for the Pioneers were Morales (20), Gray (19) and Lamont Cole (15).
The Lady Pioneers walked away with another big win when the Lady Rams came to town Saturday, Feb. 1.
From beginning to end, the GSC Women commanded the cout. Within the first half, they had built a lead of more than 30 points (31 at the half).
As the final buzzer sounded, the Lady Pioneers earned a, 119-76, win over the Shepherd Lady Rams.
Seven Lady Pioneers scored in double digits: Kenyona Simmons (18), Tasia Bistow (13), Kenyell Goodson (13), Chanice Lee (13), Tiffani Huffman (11), Ginny Mills (11), and Ashleigh Fossett (10).
Keyanna Tate and Aesha Peters had big numbers rebounding with Peters grabbing 12 loose balls and Tate pulling in 10.
This week was set to be a tough one for both teams. Monday night rematches at Fairmont were cancelled due to harsh weather. While both the Pioneers and Lady Pioneers got victories in the first meetings between these two teams, the rivalry between these two teams will result in a harsh rematch.
Also, don't miss UC's visit to Glenville this Saturday, February 8. This will also be an intense contest.
Titans and Lady Titans Back to Competition; GCHS Boys and Girls Mark Return to Court with Victories
After more than a week of snow storms and frigid temperatures had kept the Titans and Lady Titans off the court in competition, both teams finally got to challenge opponents last week.
The Titans were first on the court when they welcomed the Red Devils of Calhoun County to GCHS's gymnasium. During the first meeting between these two, the two teams had battled it out into the final minutes. The first half of this game proved to be equally as nail-biting.
After opening the game with a small lead, 14-10 at the end of the first half, the Titans allowed the rival Red Devils to take the lead heading into the locker room at intermission, 26-28.
Unwilling to take the loss, the Titans used the deficit to motivate themselves heading into the third quarter.
There, they outscored their opponent, 26-13, and took a 52-41 lead. That 11 points was too much for the Red Devils to overcome as the Titans gained another victory, 75-62.
The Titans had four athletes in double digits. Austin Cunningham led the team with a game-high 25 points. Also in double digits were Austin Ratliff (17), Colby Cunningham (13), and Cory Grogg (11).
After a rough loss to Notre Dame on Friday (stats not available), the Titans traveled to Braxton County Saturday.
The Eagles proved to be no match for GCHS as the Titans took the win, 69-46.
Ratliff stepped up in the contest, as he hit three three-pointers in route to a team-high 21 points for the Titans.
Senior Nathan Allison also had an impressive game. He also hit a trio of three-pointers and put up 16 points for the Titans.
Grogg added 13 points and A. Cunningham added 10 points, including a pair of three-pointers.
Bishop continues to provide Leadership to a Talented, Youthful Lady Titan Team
For the Lady Titans, their first weekend back to competition started off with a, 56-39, victory over the Wirt Lady Tigers last Thursday, Jan. 30.
The Lady Titans led in all four quarters in route to the victory.
While senior Julie Bichop led the team with a game-high 23 points, including two three-point baskets and nine-of-10 from the charity strip, a group of freshman really stood out in the contest as Kylie Shuff and Riley Fitzwater each scored eight and Carly Somerville added six points.
The Lady Titans continued with a busy weekend at Pocahontas and the HIT Tournament. While stats are not available for either event, it has been confirmed the Lady Titans finished second in the HIT Tournament.