POCA - No matter how well Clay County shot, it wasn't going to be able to hang with Poca Friday night. Not with all its lapses in ball-handling and lapses in defense.
Jake Payne hit 7 of 8 shots and scored 19 points to lead four starters in double figures as the Dots stormed off with a 78-51 victory.
Also for Poca (2-0), Cameron Cottrill tallied 16 points, Noah Frampton 15 and Matt Chandler 12. All four had reached double figures by the 3:44 mark of the third quarter.
"I was pleased with the way we played the second quarter,'' said Dots coach Allen Osborne, "especially offensively. We attacked the rim. Our defense was pretty good for the most part, too. It was a good effort.''
The Dots never led by fewer than 13 points over the last 21/2 quarters against a Panthers team that went 12-11 last season, including two close losses to Poca.
"I think they're going to win a bunch of games,'' Osborne said of the Panthers. "They're big and physical and they've got a couple kids who can shoot it.''
Shooting the ball was never a problem for Clay, but other things sure were.
Through three quarters, the Panthers (1-1) hit 54 percent of their attempts, but trailed 56-34 largely because of 19 turnovers and their failure to close out defensively on some of Poca's sets.
"Sometimes we played defense for 30, 35 seconds,'' said Clay coach Scott Gibson, "then we'd just lose a guy and they get an easy shot. Their kids would play defense for 30, 40 seconds and they don't lose a guy. They just do a tremendous job defensively.
"When you play Coach Osborne, that's the way his kids play. I knew it coming in. He does a tremendous job of getting his kids to come out and play hard defense. Sometimes I don't know how he does it. We'll watch film and try to emulate them because they do a fantastic job. We've got to get better at that, and hopefully we will.''