Girls basketball: First-year coach, Poca excited to open season
POCA, W.Va. -- Girls basketball lives once again at Poca High.
"I've got 12 girls out," first-year coach Kenny Sayre said. "I don't think I will have anybody drop out this year."
The Dots program folded in December last year just a few games into the season. Several players elected not to come out for the team, a couple quit, and then there were some injuries. The roster fell to six available players at one point.
Class AA All-State player Adrian Cunningham transferred to George Washington and a brief battle with the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission ensued before she was eventually declared eligible to play.
Former coach Rudy Raynes announced he would not be coming back and a replacement was found on the boys bench.
Sayre has been an assistant coach for the Poca boys basketball team the past five years after playing at Bluefield State.
"It's different coaching girls," he said. "But it is enjoyable."
There are three seniors on the roster, but one has not played since she was a freshman. The other two, Maddie McGrew and Paula Ord, have proven to be very valuable. McGrew was the Daily Mail's Freshman of the Year in 2010.
"Those two are really keeping us together," Sayre said. "They are doing a great job."
He also expects Hannah Bailey and Mackenzie Ball, who are currently battling for the point guard spot, to make big contributions.
There was not much recruiting to be done.
"They were ready to play," Sayre said. "They were excited to get started."
The reason he has so much confidence in his current players sticking it out is that attendance was so good during the summer. To help get the program rebooted, he entered the team in a league over the summer and was happy that he had nine girls show up consistently.
"They were there every time," Sayre said. "So I knew that at least we were going to have enough for a team."
While the numbers have grown some since then, he was hoping for even more newcomers.
"I'm a little disappointed in the numbers," Sayre said. "I thought we might have 17 or 18."
Still, he is just happy the Dots once again will be in action this winter.
"I know this year is going to have some ups and downs," Sayre said. "I just want the girls to stay focused."
Poca travels to James Monroe for a scrimmage Saturday and then opens the regular season Thursday, Nov. 29 at Nitro.
"We're just trying to have a good time right now," Sayre said. "Who knows what will happen by the end of the season."