POCA, W.Va. - Poca's leading scorer from a year ago may have graduated, but as it turns out there is still plenty to be excited about when the Dots hit the hardwood.
Indeed, Class AA third-teamer Clinton Parsons may be gone, but a youth movement in the Dots' backcourt proved on Tuesday that brighter days still may be ahead.
Sophomore Noah Frampton and junior Cam Cottrill combined for 20 points and, more importantly, shut down one of the best guards in the Kanawha Valley in Nitro's Angelo Sirianni as the Dots pulled away late for a 46-39 win at home in both teams' season opener.
Sirianni was Kanawha County's leading scorer a year ago, averaging 20.4 points per game, but was held to just seven points on 1-of-13 shooting on Tuesday. Thanks mostly to Payne and Cottrill, most of those shots were contested 3-pointers as Sirianni's attempts at penetration consistently ended in a face full of white jerseys.
"I don't think we did a real good job offensively getting the looks we wanted," Nitro coach Bryan Faber said. "We know [Sirianni's] a marked man. Everybody knows how good he is. We've got to do a better job of getting him cleaner looks and he's got to do a better job of working harder to get those looks."
Cottrill finished with a team-best 13 points and hitting 5 of 6 foul shots in the closing moments of the fourth quarter to finish it off.
"It's always good to get off to a good start, especially against a solid AAA team," Cottrill said.
Poca senior Adam Sigman made a huge contribution off the bench at a pivotal point in the game. Sigman scored five of his eight points in a row as part of a 12-0 run spanning the first and second quarters that gave Poca the lead for good.
"We didn't know if he was going to be able to play, Adam got hurt [Monday]," Osborne said. "It was a really gutty thing for him."
Nitro mustered just two points in the second quarter and shot under 25 percent (14 of 57) for the game.
For all of their struggles, Sam Neff almost saved the Wildcats, scoring nine of his game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-point play that drew Nitro to within five in the final minutes.
That gap would was cut to four on Sirianni's first and only field goal, but free throws from Cottrill and Cameron Morrison closed the door.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948 or firstname.lastname@example.org.