CHARLESTON — The Chapmanville Regional High School boys’ basketball team had a three-pronged strategy in its game against the No. 1-ranked Poca Dots on Wednesday in the Class AA state tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.
One, slow the tempo.
Two, limit Poca’s possessions and work for good shots.
Three, use the “Jordan Rules” against Poca’s top scorers Luke Frampton and Elijah Cuffee by playing tight defense and contesting every shot.
It was a brilliant plan.
And it nearly worked.
No. 8-seed Chapmanville gave defending state champion Poca a huge scare and nearly pulled off the massive upset but still fell short, 30-28, in shockingly close state tournament clash.
“I want to give a lot of credit to Chapmanville,” Poca coach Allen Osborne said. “Those kids really played hard, tough and they competed. They defended us well and we’re lucky to win the game. Our kids just found a way to win. They were frustrated, but they gutted it out and made some big plays down the stretch. We made some big plays at the end and we’re very fortunate.”
Tied at 28, the Dots (24-2) won it as Frampton scored on a putback with one second left after Cuffee airballed a baseline jumper.
“A (Chapmanville player) just missed the rebound,” Frampton said. “It went right over his head, he tipped it up and thankfully I got it and put it in.”
Osborne said the Dots were definitely holding for one last shot.
“We wanted to take one shot,” he said. “They only had two team fouls, so our only concern was turning the ball over. We wanted to run a play, but it broke down and Elijah (Cuffee) still got a really good look, which I thought was going in. But Luke (Frampton) put it back in and fortunately we won the game.”
Chapmanville called timeout with 0.8 ticks to go and had one last chance but an inbound pass to Drew Williamson near halfcourt was deflected and time ran out.
The Tigers closed out the season 17-9 and lost its second straight game in the state tournament. Chapmanville last played in 2014 and fell 63-34 to Bluefield.
Poca survived despite a miserable night shooting. The Dots were a woeful 20 percent from the field, making only 7-of-35 of its field goals, including 1-for-11 from 3-point land. Poca made its first 3, then missed 11 straight.
Cuffee, the leading scorer in the Cardinal Conference at 20.5 points per game this season, was held to two points on a woeful 1-for-12 shooting. He made that up by grabbing eight rebounds, blocking five shots, dishing out three assists and getting two steals.
Frampton led the way with 21 points. He hit the only 3 of the night for the Dots and saved Poca by hitting 14-of-15 of his free throw attempts.
Senior Jordan Whitt and Williamson led the Tigers with 10 points apiece.
Using Scott’s playbook, the Tigers slowed the game way down. The Tigers used the weave, milking the clock at times and frustrating the Dots, which had survived a 20-10 game against Scott last week in the regional tournament.
The third time was nearly the charm for Chapmanville which had been blown out twice this season by Poca by lopsided 94-43 and 60-37 scores.
Chapmanville led 26-24 after three quarters of play and went up 28-24 with 5:48 left in the game as Tyler Moore scored on a lay-in.
Frampton pulled the Dots to within 28-26 with 5:39 remaining as he was hacked on a 3-point shot and netted 2-of-3 free throws.
Frampton then tied the game at 28-28 with a lay-in with 5:05 to go after Austin Henrich forced a Chapmanville turnover.
Chapmanville then ran the weave at the top of the key taking minutes off the clock.
The Tigers tried to go ahead but Williamson’s drive to the bucket was thwarted by the Poca defense and a steal by Cuffee and a tie-up went to the Dots with 1:21 left.
Poca then slowed the game down and held the ball for the final shot.
“We never intended to hold the ball, we were just being patient and tried to get a really, really good shot,” Chapmanville coach Brad Napier said. “We thought we got a pretty good look. We go Drew the ball inside and he had a chance. We ended up losing the ball. We got what we wanted going to the basket but it just didn’t work out.”
The Dots started off the game strong with a 3 by Frampton and an 8-0 lead but went just 3-for-19 from the floor in the first half for a Pluto-cold 15.8 percent. Despite playing so poorly, the Dots still led Chapmanville 20-16 at the break. Frampton scored 15 of those points and kept the Dots ahead as he went a perfect 12-for-12 from the charity stripe.
The Tigers trailed 14-6 after one quarter and began to make their move in the second period.
Williamson’s 3 cut it to 16-9 with 6:36 left. Whitt then completed an old-fashioned three-point play to inch the Tigers within 16-12. Whitt’s turnaround shot from eight feet out made it 18-14 with 3:42 to go.
Browning’s drive to the lane put CRHS within 20-16 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Chapmanville outscored the Dots 10-4 to grab the lead.
Whitt’s drive to the lane cut it to 20-18 with 7:29 left.
Then at the 4:51 mark, Whitt drilled a 3-pointer from the corner as the Tigers trailed only 22-21.
Williamson then had the shot of the game for Chapmanville as he canned a 23-foot 3-pointer from the wing with 3:10 left, giving the Tigers their first lead of the night at 24-22.
“I was pumped,” Williamson said of the big 3. “But then I was focused after that to try and get some stops.”
Cuffee’s steal and layup with 2:28 to go tied it up at 24.
Browning then put the Tigers on top 26-24 with 2:02 left as he sank a pair of free throws.
Moore and Browning tossed in four points each for CRHS.
Moore led the Tigers on the boards with seven. Whitt and Hunter Neil had five each. The 6-foot-7 Neil also had three big blocked shots.
Browning handed out three assists, while Dylan Smith had two and Williamson one.
Chapmanville was just 10-for-32 shooting for 31.3 percent. The Tigers made 5-of-7 free throws while The Dots were 15-for-17 for 88.2 percent.
Chapmanville outrebounded Poca 28-23.
Frampton also had seven setals.
Poca’s 30 points are believed to be the fewest scored by a winning team in Class AA tournament history. The previous record (38) was set in 1967.
Chapmanville’s 28 points scored are also a record low for the Class AA state tournament. The previous low was 30 was set in 1978.
“It was a heck of a game both ways,” Napier said. “Both teams played extremely hard and it was a defensive struggle. Both teams had trouble scoring. I was very proud of my guys. I thought their intensity, defense and effort was outstanding. They did everything we asked them to do to give us a chance to win the game. It just didn’t work out.”
Added Williamson, “I thought that we did a really good job defensively. We were real aggressive.”
The Dots advance to play Wyoming East on Friday at 1 p.m. in the 2A state semifinals.
Osborne said his team was lucky to get past the Tigers given his team’s abysmal shooting.
“A lot of players would have just stuck their heads in the sand,” he said. “There was more to this game than shooting – even though we would like to make a few.”
Poca 30, Chapmanville 28
Browning 1-4, 2-4, 4; Smith 0-4, 0-0, 0; Williamson 3-9, 2-2, 10; Whitt 4-7, 1-1, 10; Neil 0-0, 0-0, 0; Moore 2-8, 0-0, 4.
Totals: 10-32, 5-7, 28
Cuffee 1-12, 0-0, 2; Henrich 1-4, 0-0, 2; Frampton 3-9, 14-15, 21; Meeks 1-7, 0-0, 2; Dotson 1-2, 1-2, 3; Phillips 0-1, 0-0, 0.
Totals: 7-35, 15-17, 30
Chapmanville…..6 10 10 2 – 28
Poca………………14 6 4 6 – 30
3-point goals — Chap 3-10 (Browning 0-1, Smith 0-2, Williamson 2-6, Whitt 1-1); Poca 1-11 (Cuffee 0-4, Frampton 1-3, Meeks 0-3, Phillips 0-1). Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).