Boys basketball: Poca defense stymies Nitro
POCA, W.Va. - Nitro's athleticism was no match for Poca's staunch man-to-man defense and patient offense.
It didn't hurt that Wildcats star guard Angelo Sirianni hit only one of his 12 shot attempts.
Junior Cam Cottrill scored 11 points and four other Dots had at least eight points apiece in a 44-39 victory over Nitro in a mutual season opener at Poca High School on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats played full court man-to-man defense and could produce only 11 turnovers and nine steals.
"They're good and athletic, we were really concerned about their pressure," said Poca Coach Allen Osborne, who has 533 career victories at the school in which he serves as athletic director. "Our kids played their guts out. I was really proud of our defense."
Sirianni averaged 20.4 points per game last season, but missed his first nine shots - including six 3-pointers - on Tuesday. His first field goal was a layup with 29.9 seconds left that cut Poca's lead to four.
For the Dots' part, their halfcourt man-to-man didn't allow the Wildcats any looks, and when Nitro had an opportunity to score easy buckets - much like Poca, the Wildcats missed.
The hosts outrebounded Nitro 40-35, receiving 11 boards from Matt Chandler.
Noah Frampton had nine points, and Jake Payne, Chandler and Adam Sigman had eight apiece. Sigman's total, to go along with a pair of assists and three rebounds, came off the bench.
"We prepared for their man," Sigman said. "They do a lot of trapping across halfcourt, fullcourt press. They didn't show much zone in the games we saw."
The Wildcats, who were led by Sam Neff's 18 points, nine rebounds and five steals before he fouled out with 1:19 left, couldn't get into a rhythm.
"We had to pressure the ball and pressure the passing lanes and get some things in transition," said Nitro Coach Bryan Faber, who is 12-13 in his second season. "They kept us from doing that. They did a much better job of playing the way they needed to win than we did."
Sirianni had just three points at halftime - all on free throws after he was fouled on a 3-point attempt. He tried one field goal in the third quarter, but made both of his free throws.
The Dots, who didn't trail after a Sigman 3-pointer tied the game at 12 with 7 minutes left in the first half, pushed the lead to nine midway through the third.
"You have to shoot until you find your shot," Sirianni said. "There comes a point where you also have to attack the basket. I take what's given to me. I'm going to force unnecessary shots.
"You have to find something to do what you have to do to make a shot. We weren't really hitting tonight."
Poca returns to action at home Friday against Clay County, while Nitro is off until Jan. 14, when the Wildcats playo host to Poiint Pleasant.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4837.