Boys basketball: Experienced Poca regroups for potential run
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Experience can make a big difference is sports.
With four starters back from last season's squad that missed the State Tournament by 0.8 seconds, the boys basketball team at Poca just needs it to make a little bit of a difference.
"We were 18-7 and 13 of those games were decided by six points or less," veteran Poca Coach Allen Osborne said. "We're hoping to get a little better and get over that hump."
The last one of those tight games was a regional co-final loss to Scott on a pair of free throws with 0.8 seconds remaining.
Starters returning for Poca are 6-foot Noah Frampton, 5-8 Cam Cottrill, 6-foot Matt Chandler, and 6-2 Jacob Payne.
Frampton averaged 14 points a game and Cottrill 10.6 to pace the Dots in scoring.
Also back are 6-3 junior Christian Buckley, who missed all of last season with an injury, and sophomore Kaden Meeks.
"So we have some experience," Osborne said.
Poca did lose four players who contributed last season.
But a talented group of freshmen from a middle school program that finished undefeated last season look ready to replace them.
"We've got 20 kids out and 10 of them are freshmen," Osborne said. "A couple of the freshmen are going to be playing a lot of varsity."
Look for 6-3 Luke Frampton, Noah's brother, to see plenty of action along with Elijah Cuffee whose older brother, Jason - a former Poca star - is a junior at Cedarville University.
At least one more ninth-grader will dress for varsity games.
"Chase Dotson (6-3) is another freshman that we think will be very good," Osborne said.
Overall he likes what he has seen from the group last summer and this fall.
"They are good kids and have good attitudes, and they are good students," Osborne said. "I think the team (grade point average) is about 3.5."
The Dots will be tested early.
"We open at Nitro and of course that is a rivalry game," Osborne said. "Then we have Clay County, Mingo Central, and (Robert C.) Byrd, so our first four games are going to be a challenge but we are hoping to get off to a good start."
The Robert C. Byrd contest is part of the inaugural Big Ten-Cardinal Conference Challenge to be played Dec. 20-21 at the Charleston Civic Center.
He is also hoping for a better finish.
"Hopefully we'll get better every game and be ready for March," Osborne said.
The Dots last trip to the State Tournament was in 2011 when they advanced to the semifinals. They won the Class AA title in 1997.
Poca visits Nitro on Dec. 10.