CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A few boys basketball notes now that teams are actually playing games again:
Poca's veteran coach, Allen Osborne, hasn't been afraid of playing freshmen, from the days of Tim Dagostine in the 1980s all the way to Noah Cottrill in the 2000s.
So he isn't going to change his stripes now that he's got a pair of talented ninth-graders in his program - 6-foot-1, 180-pound Elijah Cuffee and 6-4, 175-pound Luke Frampton, both regular starters this season.
Cuffee is the younger brother of former Poca standout and Division I recruit Jason Cuffee (now at Division II Cedarville, Ohio) and Frampton is the younger brother of junior guard Noah Frampton, a returning starter for the Dots (7-1), who are tied for fifth in the Class AA state poll.
Elijah Cuffee stands second on the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game, and Luke Frampton averages 9.9 points. Cuffee tossed in a season-high 23 points at Wayne on Tuesday and Luke Frampton has hit double figures in scoring four times in seven games
Osborne isn't about to start checking his players' birth certificates - he doesn't care how young they are. If they can play, they'll play.
"No, we haven't even talked about it,'' Osborne said. "They're basketball players and pretty good players.''
Cuffee said he and Luke Frampton, being counted upon to produce right away, haven't had a chance to become starry-eyed freshmen.
"It was weird at first,'' Cuffee said, "but you get used to it real fast. I think me and him have adjusted real well.''
Osborne, whose varsity and JV rosters are stocked with 11 freshmen out of 20 total players, said the upperclassmen have assisted the transition for Cuffee and Frampton.
"Our older guys have really helped them,'' Osborne said. "They talk to them and have done a good job with them. They're very talented, and a lot of credit goes to our veterans for helping those guys. They've been there, and they know what goes on.''
Cuffee feels that the Dots don't have to change their expectations, which include securing a state tournament spot, just because of the overabundance of youth.
"I think our sights are [set] the same,'' he said. "I think we can still do what we want to do. It doesn't matter whether we're freshmen or not.''
A pair of Kanawha Valley teams are likely to be facing supreme challenges during the upcoming Big Atlantic Classic, which just released its schedule earlier this week.
In the first round, Hurricane is set to tackle Parkersburg South, which took a 9-0 record and a No. 6 AAA ranking into Friday night's date with Wheeling Park. South sports an extremely balanced lineup, with as many as five players carrying double-figure scoring averages in recent games.
The Redskins and Patriots clash at approximately 5:40 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31 at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center (the building formerly known as the Raleigh County Armory). It's the third of five varsity games set for that day.
The game that precedes that one is Capital against Lewis County (3-2), a contest the Cougars will be favored to win. Capital took a 5-0 record and co-No. 3 AAA ranking into Friday's game at Huntington.
If the Cougars do advance to the Big Atlantic boys co-championship at 9 p.m. on Feb. 1, it could come against Greenbrier East (8-3), the No. 5 team in AAA and one of great talent that coach Jim Justice has assembled in Fairlea.
The Spartans, who face Preston (5-3) in the Big Atlantic opening round, rely on a pair of Division I signees in 6-3 senior guard Rondale Watson (Wake Forest) and 6-10 senior center Obi Romeo (St. Joseph's), a native Nigerian who's been playing baseball for less than four years.