Poca wins on buzzer-beater
POCA, W.Va. - Noah Frampton hit what might stand as the basket of his life Friday night, but one thing was missing: his father, Bryan.
"My dad couldn't come to the game today, because he's sick, so it's for my dad," he said.
"It" was a turnaround jumper from the foul-line elbow at the buzzer, coming off a perfect length-of-court pass from Matt Chandler. The sophomores completed the heave-catch-dribble-turn-shoot sequence in 1.5 seconds to give Class AA No. 1 Poca a 40-39 victory over No. 3 Scott before a near-capacity crowd in the Dots' gym.
The basket answered a jumper in the lane by Scott's Matt Dolan with the aforementioned 1.5 seconds left, and was the fourth time in the final three minutes the lead changed hands - and that doesn't count the additional chances each team had in that stretch.
That started with 3:36 left, when Adam Sigman hit the first of two free throws to give Poca a 36-35 lead. But he missed the second and Anthony Sigmon scored on a putback at the other end, giving the Skyhawks a 37-36 lead.
Then the fun really began.
Poca's Sigman was called for a charging foul, a call coach Allen Osborne didn't agree with, with 2:47 left. Scott missed but Chandler was called for walking while wrestling on the floor for the rebound. The 6-foot-5 Sigmon walked at the other end, an unforced error beyond the top of the key.
And on it went. Poca missed two straight putbacks, but stole a long press-breaking pass - and missed the next shot. After a Scott miss, Cam Cottrill drove to draw a shooting foul, then missed both free throws.
By then, the clock went under a minute and the Dots had fouls to give. After Cam Morrison committed one, Osborne called a timeout with 48.5 seconds left.
Scott had the ball, but quickly committed its 21st and final turnover, an illegal screen called before the inbound pass was even attempted.
The Dots milked a half-minute off the clock before Cottrill ventured into the lane and tried a shot. That missed, but Chandler got the rebound and put it in, giving the Dots a 38-37 lead. With 12.8 seconds left, the Dots called timeout.
Scott coach Nick Cabell, who hit his own game-winning bank shot for the Skyhawks in the same gym during the 2003-04 season, called timeout with 8.5 seconds left, after another Poca foul. Whatever he drew up worked, as Dolan split the defense to score the last two of his game-high 16 points.
The clock ran out, but Osborne had called a timeout when the ball went through. The official watching the clock immediately ordered 1.5 seconds to be put on the clock, and Osborne and Cabell resumed their chess match.
"We tried to put some people along the halfcourt line, to take away a chance for a quick dribble and shot," Cabell said. "We put one guy back at the foul line to take away a deep pass to the foul line. [Frampton] just slipped in front of our defender, caught the pass, took the dribble and got just enough space to get a shot off."
"That was the first option," Chandler said of the heave to Frampton. "After they called that timeout, we thought they were going to double-team Noah on the baseline on the other side of the court. Coach said either throw it to somebody at halfcourt, or throw it down [to Frampton]. No one was guarding him, I threw the ball, probably one of the best passes I've ever made. As soon as it left my hand, I knew he was going to make the shot."
Frampton said of the pass: "It couldn't have been any better."
But the rest wasn't automatic. Frampton, who led the Dots with 13 points, had to take one dribble to get turned around and then had to loft a shot over that one defender - all before the buzzer sounded.
"The rule is you've got one dribble per second and we had one and a half seconds left," Osborne said. "He made a nice turn, nice catch, nice turn. The only thing I was concerned about is he was going to pass it. He got square to the basket, elevated, got off a nice shot. Had a hand in his face, so it was a tough shot."
The game was close most of the way.
Poca (10-1) had an 18-10 lead in the second quarter and a 35-28 lead early in the fourth quarter, but Scott (8-2) reeled the Dots in both times. The Skyhawks shot an even 50 percent, but took 12 fewer shots, the byproduct of those 21 turnovers.
The Dots took better care of the ball, only turning it over seven times. That helped them overcome 39 percent shooting and a 31-15 rebounding deficit.
"There were two good teams fighting it out," Osborne said. "It was a war."
One that came down to Frampton's final salvo.
"What was going through my head is I prayed before I shot the ball and I said, 'Lord, help me make this shot,' " he said. "And I made it, and that's for my dad."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.