Boys basketball: Poca expects to have balanced scoring
POCA, W.Va. -- Balance provides the key and hopefully production this season for the Poca boys basketball team.
The Dots graduated four seniors, including leading scorer Clinton Parsons and second-leading scorer George Hamrick, and will look to use a more well-rounded scoring attack this season. With three returning starters and a stockpile of reserves, Coach Allen Osborne said the balanced approach is pivotal.
"We lost about 50 percent of our offense, and we've got back three starters, and a host of guys who played a lot," Osborne said. "We think we're going to be more balanced scoring this year. A couple of guys can score and have really worked hard in the offseason and improved. We think there are going to be some guys that can score."
Last season, Parsons (first team All-Cardinal Conference) and Hamrick (second team) combined to average 24 points a contest, as the Dots finished 13-12 following a 67-36 loss to Tolsia in the Class AA Region 4 co-final.
Six-foot-2 junior Jake Payne represents the team's leading returning scorer (7 points/game) and rebounder. Junior point guard Cam Cottrill (5.5 points/game) and sophomore Noah Frampton (4.5 points/game) also return.
Beyond the three returning starters, the list of possible contributors stretches long.
Osborne said he's counting on valuable experience and time from four seniors: Cam Morrison, Adam Sigman, Hayden Bailey and Caleb Samples. Other potential playmakers include sophomore Matt Chandler and Christian Buckley, as well as Hayden Webb and Brandon Smith.
"We've got about eight, nine guys we can play and we're planning on playing, so we're planning on playing a lot of players," Osborne said. "They have different things they can do. We just have to get some experience and mesh. Hopefully, by the end of the season, we're playing pretty good."
In addition to scoring, Poca will need to find new ways to rebound without the size of forwards Parsons and Hamrick.
"We're going to have to do a good job blocking out," Osborne said. "We don't have a lot of size. We've only got a couple guys around 6-1, 6-2."
What Poca lacks in height, Osborne, who has 532 career wins, said the Dots will compensate with hustle and defense.
"We got to block and, hopefully, with our defense, we can keep the (opponent's) offense away from the bucket a little bit and make them shoot the ball from the perimeter, long rebounds and block out," he said. "Rebounding is going to be a big key for our team. We've got to keep people off the boards."
Size might not be Poca's strong suit this season, but Osborne said there are plenty of positives about this year's Dots team.
"I think we got good quickness and good speed and all of our kids can handle the ball pretty well, so we got kids that can play multiple positions and get out in the court and make plays," he said. "I think that's our strength. We've got a lot of depth and some kids that have some skills, play the post, play the perimeter both, so we've got a lot of options from our players."
Besides the arduous Cardinal Conference schedule that features Mingo Central in place of Point Pleasant, Osborne said Poca will play Class A defending state champs Charleston Catholic and AAA power Nitro in a home-and-home series, as well as Nicholas County and Clay County.
"We've got a challenge ahead of us, but we're pretty excited about playing those games and seeing what'll happen," he said. "I really like our team. I like our kids.
"They're good kids, working hard, attitude is good."
With good attitude, hustle and a complementary set of versatile players, Osborne said he's ready to see the Dots back in action.
"We're pretty excited about our team," he said. "They're young and with our mix of seniors coming back, the leadership that they're going to provide, hopefully, we're going to have a solid team."