The red-hot Tigers picked up another big victory as Chapmanville downed Poca 68-63 in a key Cardinal Conference makeup game and gained some added confidence with the sectional tourney just two weeks away.
With the victory the No. 10-ranked Tigers became the team to beat in the race for the league championship. Chapmanville is now 12-4 overall and remained in first place in the Cardinal Conference with a 6-1 league mark.
Poca, rated 11th in the state in Class AA, dropped to 10-6, 4-2. The Dots and Sissonville both have two league losses and trail Chapmanville. Sissonville handed the Tigers their only Cardinal Conference loss earlier in the season, 55-54, on a last-second 3-pointer at Chapmanville.
Chapmanville coach Harry Kirk said it was a nice win by his ballclub.
“There was a lot at stake tonight,” Kirk said. “We were playing for first place in the conference. Sissonville has lost two and they have pretty much finished their conference season. Us and Poca were trying to hang on with one loss each. We’ve still got to go down to Poca to play them but this was a big game tonight.”
Poca, led by 6-foot-3 senior Jason Cuffee, who poured in 24 points on the night, was a formidable foe for the Tigers.
The Dots led by as many as four points in the third quarter and tied the game at 55 midway into the fourth.
Chapmanville, however, went on an 8-0 run and held off Poca late to get the win.
Senior center Todd Terry led the Tigers with a double-double as he netted 25 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and also blocked four shots.
Brooks Cooper hit Chapmanville’s only 3-pointer of the night and finished with 13 points, while Cliff Hall had 12 points and four assists.
Ethan Brumfield had eight points and 13 rebounds, while Matt Cook had eight points before leaving the game with two seconds left due to an ankle injury. Dustin Woody had two points and six assists. Zack Maynard didn’t score but handed out four assists.
Chapmanville outrebounded Poca 41-26 but made just 11-of-21 free throws.
Clinton Parsons added 15 points for the Dots.
Chapmanville led 50-47 after three but the Dots ended up tying the game at 55 with 4:26 left after a lay-in by Justin Sisson.
The Tigers then went on an 8-0 run, culminating on Brumfield’s putback with 2:20 remaining in the game, to go on top 63-55. Cook, Terry and Hall also had buckets during the run.
The Dots never really recovered.
Cuffee’s 23-foot 3-pointer with 24 ticks to go cut it to 67-61 but it was too little too late for the Dots.
Terry split from the foul line with 22 seconds left to make it a 68-61 spread.
Poca led 18-16 after one quarter but went into the half down 32-27 to Chapmanville after the Tigers outscored the Dots 16-9 during the stanza.
Poca outscored the Tigers 20-18 in the third to inch within three after three periods.
Last night’s game was the first of four scheduled games this week for Chapmanville. The Tigers are set to host Herbert Hoover on Tuesday night, weather permitting, in a league makeup game. Chapmanville beat the Huskies 79-62 on Dec. 15 in the season opener. Then on Thursday, the Tigers are set to host 2A sectional rival Scott before going to Tug Valley on Friday night. CRHS beat Scott 71-57 on Feb. 5 and lost to Tug Valley, 80-76, on Jan. 29 in the previous meetings.
Next week, the Tigers host Man on Feb. 23 and go to Poca on Feb. 26 in the regular season finale.
The Double-A sectionals will then be played the following week at Logan. In Chapmanville’s sectional are Tug Valley, Scott, Wayne and Tolsia.
Kirk said his team has a tough stretch of games ahead.
“We would like to get them all in,” he said. “But it makes it really tough to prepare. (Poca) Coach (Allen) Osbourne and I were talking before the game and were both talking about playing last Friday and Saturday and yesterday was Sunday and here we are playing on a Monday. How much had we prepared for each other? You can’t do it. It was like an early season game, ‘Let’s go play so and so and let’s see what we’ve got.’ Preparation wasn’t good for both of us tonight. But it was a quality win for us. Cuffee is a good player. He’s the real deal and he’s definitely a college player.”
Kirk said after the game he wasn’t sure about Cook’s condition.
“I think it was the same ankle that he had hurt before. I don’t know how bad it’s hurt. We hope that it’s not that bad,” he said.
The Tigers are now getting ready to play Hoover.
“They’ve got a really good young team,” Kirk said. “I was impressed with them when we played them to open the season. They started out 0-3 but they are above .500 now. They have been playing well. We’re going to be playing a formidable opponent tomorrow night.”