Girls basketball: Poca hopes for return to normalcy
POCA, W.Va. - Camden Park may be miles down the road, but the girls basketball team at Poca High School has not had travel at all to experience a tremendous rollercoaster ride the last couple of years.
A mere six games into the 2011-12 season the team folded due to a lack of players.
Thanks in no small part to the efforts of seniors Madi McGrew and Paula Ord and the work of new Coach Kenny Sayre, the Dots were back on the court last season.
Then the program took another blow.
McGrew, who was averaging a double double, tore an anterior cruciate ligament and was lost for the season on Dec. 28 with the Dots record 4-8.
"When Madi went down I was thinking 'Oh no, here we go,'" Sayre admitted. "That was when Paula stepped up."
Poca not only completed the season, finishing with nine players on the roster, the Dots upset a solid Herbert Hoover squad in the first round of sectional play.
"That was huge," said Sayre, whose team finished with a 5-18 record. "It was a long year with Madi getting hurt."
Now the program looks to be back on solid ground with 13 players out.
"We have four starters returning and I have several freshmen who will come in and help," Sayre said.
Ord and McGrew are the only losses. While the other players had to deal with the loss of McGrew at the end of last year, Ord will leave big shoes to fill on defense and the boards.
"One thing about it is we have one year under our belts now," said Sayre, a 1989 Poca graduate and former Dot star. "We defended pretty well last year and I hope that carries over."
Starters back are senior Harley Hutchins and Hannah Bailey along with juniors Kendal Sayre and Mackenzie Ball.
Ball showed scoring potential with 13 points in the win over the Huskies.
"The girls have been practicing hard," Sayre said. "I'm looking forward to this year."
He pointed out that the team worked out for the entire summer three-week practice period and played in the St. Albans Shootout.
Sayre has scrimmages set up with St. Albans and Hurricane.
"Two triple-A teams," he said. "I like that."
He also likes that the rollercoaster ride has seemingly come to an end.
"We're trying to move past all of that," Sayre said. "The middle school coach told me they have 28 girls trying out."
So, for now at least, with experienced players returning and the numbers looking good he is hoping there are no more twists and turns in the program's future.
Poca opens at home against Class AAA Nitro, on Dec. 3.