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Girls basketball: Poca, Nitro come away from opener with positives

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Rivals Poca and Nitro have seen their girls basketball programs mired in mediocrity the past few years.

However, with both sporting first-year coaches, each are hoping to turn things around and get their respective programs back on the map.

They had their first opportunity of the season against each other, and despite Nitro knocking off Poca 47-38 at home, both teams left encouraged.

"I really think this team has potential," Nitro Coach Will Samuels said. "We have the right type of players. I saw a lot of things I liked. We just got to keep working and keep getting better."

The Dots played their first game of the season Thursday night after the program folded last December.

"Our girls played hard, and I'm very proud of them," Poca Coach Kenny Sayre said. "I love them to death."

Sayre believes he has the community behind him and the team, especially with the issues they faced last season.

"We have a lot of support this year," Sayre said. "We are getting the Poca family behind us. For a girls game, I was surprised at how many people were here tonight. We just took a big step, getting on the court, and playing like that. Hopefully we can turn this thing around."

Samuels feels the same about his program.

"We had a parent meeting and they say they have always heard a coach say, 'I'm going to be here.' I honestly, want to be here and we plan on trying to build here. We want to get into the middle school level, and make it better here."

The future could look encouraging for Nitro (1-0), especially considering sophomore Savannah Shamblin took the game over against Poca (0-1), scoring a game-high 28 points to go with four steals. As a team, the Wildcats forced 31 turnovers.

Sayre, meanwhile, will lean on a pair of seniors this season in Madi McGrew and Paula Ord. McGrew recorded a double-double with 13 points to and12 rebounds, while Ord finished with nine points and eight rebounds.

"It was a once in a lifetime experience being back on the court," McGrew said. "It was frustrating last year not being able to play with your best friends. Knowing coming back on the court was a blessing. It was awesome."

In other girls action:

Buffalo 57, Cross Lanes Christian 42 - Olivia Dunn made three 3-pointers and scored a team-high 15 points to lead the Bison to the home win.

Chelsey Parkins added 13 points, while Tiffany Bailey scored 12 and Paige Roush had 11 for Buffalo (2-0)

For Cross Lanes Christian (0-1), Courtney Kendrick had a game-high 18 points and Laura Jones recorded 10 points.

South Charleston 50, Logan 48 - Taliah Cashwell had 12 points to lead the Black Eagles to the road win over the Wildcats.

Alliyah Webb and Lina Villaneuva each had nine points for South Charleston (1-1).

For Logan (1-1), Hannah Tothe drained four 3-pointers for 13 points and Shanya Gore and Kelsey Kirk added 12 and 11 points, respectively.


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