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Girls basketball: Herbert Hoover outlasts Poca

By Nick Brockman

POCA, W.Va. - Without much offensive production on either end of the floor, the Herbert Hoover and Poca girls basketball teams engaged in a defensive battle across the court on Monday night.

Though offense escaped both squads, the Huskies manufactured enough points against Poca's tenacious defense to prevail with a 43-27 victory.

"Defense was the key tonight," Hoover Coach Greg Ullman said. "I think they're one of the best defensive teams in the league, along with Sissonville and Scott. When you play them, you better be ready to score and you better be able to shut them down, because you're not going to score a lot of points against them."

The Huskies (2-1) led throughout the contest and maintained an 18-7 advantage at halftime.

During the second quarter, the teams combined for six points, as Poca (0-5) tallied just a single field goal, which ended a nearly 10-minute scoring drought.

Points eluded the Dots throughout the game except for freshman Casey Skeens, who recorded a game-high 17 points. Poca trailed 33-16 after three quarters, before finally out-scoring Hoover in the final quarter, though it wasn't enough to overcome the double-digit deficit.

"Defensively, we're fine," Poca Coach Kenny Sayre said. "We just can't score. We turn the ball over too much and we just can't score right now - struggling. We got a couple shots there, but you can't turn the ball over. I know we probably had 18 or 19 turnovers. You just can't win ball games like that."

Eight players scored for Hoover, led by senior forward Hannah King, who excelled in the post against a smaller Poca lineup.

"I didn't know what to expect coming in," King said of the opposition. "I saw they didn't have much height, but we got in there. They were tough, a little bigger than us, but I thought it was awesome - we got in there and put the points on the board."

King, a standout volleyball player, showed no rust in her return to the roster after deciding to devote her athletic endeavors to travel volleyball last season.

"She does well in the block," Ullman said of King. "Obviously, she's a tremendous athlete. She's one of the better volleyball players around and she has good hops. She can jump well. She's still having a hard time with some of the physical contact, because from what I've seen, there's not a whole lot of contact in volleyball, so she's getting used to that part of it.

"She'll start finishing better as the year goes on, I'm sure. She'll be a tremendous asset for us as we go along. She's going to get better and better as we go."

King finished with a team-high 11 points for Hoover.

The Huskies spread the scoring responsibilities on Monday, but the team won with defense, King said.

"At practice, it's defense, defense, defense," she said. "That's all we do. We get where we're supposed to be and shut down who we need to shut down. That's most important."

Similarly, Sayre, a former Poca basketball player for veteran Dots Coach Allen Osborne, said his team emphasizes defense first.

"Playing here for Coach Osborne, it's just something that's been drilled into my mind for years," he said. "You have to start defensively. You have to have help-side (defense). That's where you get defense."

With improved offensive production, Poca figures to provide greater challenges for teams throughout the season.

Poca next plays host to Clay County 7:30 p.m. Friday, while Hoover next plays host to Roane County 7:30 p.m. Saturday.



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