The buzzer-beating heroics marked Hoover's first lead since 5-4 at the end of one quarter. Poca led at the half by a mere 15-13 count as defenses (and cold shooting) prevailed.
For Poca, the ending was eerie déjà vu. In its previous game, a 45-43 loss at Nitro on Tuesday, freshman Trevon Taylor scooped up a loose ball and hit a turnaround shot at the horn for the Wildcats.
"Give Cody Morris credit,'' Osborne said. "He made some tough shots when we were guarding him really well. We made a couple mental mistakes that I've got to take responsibility for. I've got to coach our players better so they don't make mistakes. It's my fault.
"That's two tough losses this week. It's disappointing, because our kids worked hard and played hard.''
Forbes, who hit his final six shots and scored 13 points for Hoover, was a prime option on the final play, Gandee said.
"We wanted to go pick and pop with [Morris],'' Gandee said, "and if he had the double team, we wanted to swing it. Fortunately, it got there anyway through the double team . . .
"Joey Forbes was set on the low block by design because if we do penetrate, they've got to take the shooter, and that opened up the opportunity and Sam made a great play - a fundamental play, a good decision. He saw that boy drew up to him, bounce pass and Joey got it in the hole just in time. It was pretty much the way we drew it up, except the ball got loose and we ended up with it.''
Gandee admitted to a certain degree of desperation as the fourth quarter played out and his team trailed by as many as nine, especially with points at a premium.
"We had to change our offensive strategy,'' Gandee said, "to start shooting 3s, which is not our normal game. Fortunately, Cody was able to hit three in a row, and they were tough shots. They obviously weren't expecting that.''
The win was important for Hoover, which is still alive to secure a home game in the upcoming sectionals. If Nicholas County loses either at Sissonville Tuesday or at home against Clay County on Thursday, the Huskies get the No. 2 seed behind Poca.
Noah Frampton headed the Dots with 16 points and seven rebounds. Cottrill added 15 points and seven boards as Poca led 33-30 off the glass.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.