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Boys basketball: Dots use summer to gain experience

POCA, W.Va. -- There is a memorable scene at the end of Rocky III that comes after former opponent Apollo Creed had helped Rocky regain the boxing championship he lost earlier in the movie.

Before Creed had agreed to help Rocky he told him that Rocky would owe him a favor when it was all over.

It turns out that the favor is a rematch between the two in a ring in a dark, empty gym.

As they enter the ring Rocky asks Creed why?

"Now, when you beat me, you beat me by one - ONE - second," Creed answers. "Now do you know what something like that does to a man of my intelligence?"

In the case of veteran Poca Coach Allen Osborne, not much.

Last year's 18-7 Dots boys basketball team fell to Scott 53-52 on a pair of free throws with just 0.8 seconds left, coming up just that short of a trip to the State Tournament.

"I don't even think about it," Osborne said. "We just said it's over with, we'll learn from it and move on."

Poca lost four players off of that squad who "all contributed in different ways," he said.

But four starters do return and have been joined during the summer practice period by a promising crop of freshmen.

"We're using this to get some young kids some experience," Osborne said. "We've played 18 games so far."

The Dots will host their own tournament beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, with games running all day.

As of Thursday the other teams involved were South Charleston, Charleston Catholic, Point Pleasant, and Lincoln County. There had been three teams drop out and Osborne was still trying to track down at least one more participant.

"We will have a round robin schedule," he said.

Poca has played in four other events, winning one in Marietta, Ohio.

"We're more interested in playing games than practicing," Osborne said. "We have a lot of guys back and they are helping the new kids learn what to do."

The Dots return starters Noah Frampton, Cam Cottrill, Jacob Payne, and Matt Chandler. Frampton averaged 14 points per game and Cottrill 10.6 last year to lead Poca in scoring.

Junior Christian Buckley returns after missing all of last season with an injury. Sophomore Kaden Meeks and freshman Luke Frampton, Noah's brother, are rounding out the main playing rotation right now.

There are 10 freshmen on the current 20-player roster which may prompt Osborne to field a freshman team for the first time.

"We had a very good middle school team last year," Osborne said. "They went undefeated."

He likes what he has seen so far this summer.

"We've been real pleased," Osborne said. "They are working really hard."

And looking forward, not backward.



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