POCA, W.Va. - Nick Cabell figures he knows his Scott team's best path through the postseason: avoid Poca in the region co-final.Having seen the Dots up close twice in 10 days, the Skyhawks coach has seen enough. The results were similar for his Skyhawks: a 70-49 dusting Jan. 8 in Madison and a 77-48 mauling Friday night in the Dots' gym.Poca is ranked fifth in Class AA this week, and Cabell figures that may be a notch or two too low."As far as I'm concerned," Cabell started. "We've played Bluefield this year, played Fairmont Senior. I think Poca's a top-three team. We've played Westside in a scrimmage, Poca can play with any of them and beat any of them on any given night.
"I think they're better than Fairmont Senior. As far as Westside and Bluefield, they're right there with them. I think Poca might be the best team in Double-A - the matchups they can pose against other teams, I don't think they can handle them."The Dots looked like state-beaters Friday night in dispatching the 10th-ranked Skyhawks. They entered the game shooting 52 percent for the season and bumped that up by going 29 of 52, 55.8 percent.In the first 21/2 quarters, the Dots' offense got progressively more lethal.In the first quarter, Scott led 2-0 and 4-3 before the Dots went on an 11-1 run. In the second quarter, an 11-0 run widened the margin from 18-14 to 29-14, and the Dots led 34-16 at the break.And if that wasn't enough, Poca got out the industrial-strength whuppin' stick in the third quarter, starting on a 17-2 run. At 51-18, that was that.
The Skyhawks (6-5) changed defenses, but to no avail. It probably didn't matter, but the Dots liked what they saw in the third quarter."They started guarding us man-to-man, and that's what we're best at [attacking]," said Matt Chandler, who led with 21 points. "Our offense always works on man-to-man defense, we had very good movement and we went down the floor really fast, got fast-break points really easy."Poca (7-1) scored every which way, also hitting 9 of 20 from 3-point range and scoring 24 points on 15 Scott turnovers. Freshman Elijah Cuffee hit three 3-pointers en route to his 19 points, and four other Dots chipped in at least six.The Dots held Scott to 16-of-49 shooting, 32.7 percent. Coach Allen Osborne wasn't happy with the defense in the fourth quarter (picky, picky), but otherwise was pleased with his team's efficiency at both ends."We've got some kids who can shoot it," Osborne said. "We've got some balance, and they always find the open guy, and they're fun to coach."The result leaves Cabell looking for an answer or two with his Skyhawks, who were led by Eric May's 13 points.
"We're not where we need to be right now," he said. "We're nowhere close to where we were last year, and we've got some issues to figure out, maybe some personnel to figure out, and hopefully everything pans out before sectionals roll around."We definitely want to win our sectional so we don't see Poca in the region."Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.