Sayre admitted that missing the majority of the season last year puts the Dots at a disadvantage. Poca seniors Paula Ord and Madi McGrew along with juniors Hannah Bailey and Harley Hutchins provide experience, but the rest of the team will be sophomores and freshmen.
"It hurt them not playing last year,'' said Sayre. "The girls are just going to have to step up. When you have that many sophomores, several of them are going to have to fill in. The girls have really been jelling together. I think Paula and Madi are going to be good leaders.''
Sayre said he wants this year's team to feel good about getting back on the court even thought it faces an uphill battle.
"There's a lot on those girls,'' he said. "They have to show basketball is here to stay. They have to be strong. You're basically going to be role models for the girls in eighth grade.''
Sayre said he was at first hesitant to apply for the head coaching position, but after talking with Poca boys coach Allen Osborne and Kanawha Valley coaching icon Tex Williams, he decided to give it a try.
"They gave me some pretty good advice,'' Sayre said. "It's the first time I've coached girls. It's been a blast.''
Sayre said Poca Middle School had 28 girls at tryouts last season, which leaves him optimistic for the future.
"I know the talent's coming and the girls really want to play,'' he said. "I think it's looking good for years to come. Hopefully in a couple years we'll have 28 girls come out for basketball here at Poca.''
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.