BY JOHN CONLEY
Turnabout is fair play, the old saying goes.
Class AA No. 10 Poca scored on a put back with .6 of a second remaining in regulation, then went on to beat No. 4 Westside, 71-64, in overtime last Saturday at Clear Fork.
Both games between the teams this year were marked by improbable "turnabouts." Westside roared back from 12 down in the final four minutes to win at Poca. The Dots (8-3) trailed by two with less than 30 seconds left Westside holding the ball.
We won one up there that we shouldnt have won," noted WHS coach Nick Cook, "and they won one they probably shouldnt have won. So this game evened it up."
The Renegades appeared to be in good shape when Nick Lambert stole the ball and took it in for a layup to give his team a 59-54 lead with 1:41 to play in the fourth quarter.
Poca senior Brian Sigman knocked down a trey from the left side to get the Dots with two.
Each team missed a shot, and Westside called time with :5.9 seconds left.
The Renegades had worked the ball around for over ten seconds when Caleb Arthur came up with a steal and passed down court to Sigman, whose shot was deflected out of bounds with :11.8 showing.
Dots sophomore Jason Cuffee missed a three, and Sigman was short on a two. Cuffee's first stick back was off target, but the next fell through just before the buzzer.
"We just had poor execution (at the end)," Cook remarked. "I had confidence in everybody we had out there to make foul shots, but we didnt want a turnover."
Sigman, who led the Dots with 25 points, popped in a pair of threes to start the overtime. Westside didnt get closer than four after that.
"They hit those two threes, and that pretty much took all the wind out of us," Cook commented.
There were a dozen lead changes and six ties leading up the dramatic finish.
Nathan Ameling scored twice inside and Eric Bailey hit a short jumper along the baseline as WHS grabbed a 6-0 lead in the opening minutes.
Poca answered with ten unanswered points, including a three by Sigman, to go up 10-6.
A Dannie Hicks trey and two free throws from Bailey put the Renegades back in front.
A 9-0 spurt in the stanza, capped by Danny Wandling's steal and layup, gave Poca its biggest first half edge at 19-11.
The Dots held a 25-20 margin when Westside finished the half with seven straight points: Bailey connected from 15 feet and scored inside, and Hicks drilled a trifecta from the left corner.
There was never more than a four-point gap between the clubs in the third period, and Poca had a 46-45 lead when the final stanza began.
It was the second straight heartbreak loss for the Renegades (6-5), who dropped a three-point decision at Shady Spring earlier in the week.
"Its going to be tough (to bounce back)," Cook noted, "but the schedule doesnt get any easier with Scott and Bluefield."
Bailey had a game-high 34 for Westside. Hicks scored 11, followed by Ameling (6), Lambert (5), Zach Helmandollar (4), Dakota Toler (2) and Justin Tilley (2).
Sigman and Cuffee (20) paced the Dots, who have won seven straight. Clinton Parsons added 11.
Renegade notes: Illness and injury have forced Cook to constantly shuffle his lineup. "I think this is the seventh different starting lineup we've had in 11 games," he remarked. But our guys are pretty much interchangeable, so I dont think it has that much of an effect. Everybody has a job to do when theyre i the game." . . . Adam Cline, who suffered an ankle injury in December, is out for the year, and Travis Whitten is nursing an ankle injury. Ameling played sick on Saturday.