NEWTOWN — The Poca Dots shook off a slow start to hand Cardinal Conference foe Mingo Central a 57-49 loss on Friday night at Miner Mountain and improve to 5-1 on the 2019-20 campaign.
The Miners would start the game quick, jumping out to a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter with two buckets by sophomore forward Jarius Jackson, and a three-pointer by sophomore guard Devin Hatfield.
Poca would go on a 6-1 run to cut the Mingo lead to 8-6, but coach Stan Elkins’ squad would finish the frame strong as they closed out the quarter with two consecutive step-back jumpers by senior guard Drew Hatfield, the latter coming as the first quarter clock expired to take a 12-6 lead.
The momentum shifted in the Dots’ favor as the second quarter began as they went on a 10-0 run.
A successful free throw and a layup by Poca senior forward Nate Vance and two baskets including a steal and score by sophomore guard Issac McKneely, and the visitors held a 16-12 advantage over Mingo.
The rest of the period would be nip and tuck as the Blue and White would tie it on a coast-to-coast layup by junior guard Colton Blankenship, then the Dots would go on a 5-0 run to take the lead back at 21-16.
Mingo would fight back and return the favor as they took the lead on consecutive trey balls by Drew Hatfield and senior guard Nathan May.
The two teams would trade a pair of baskets and as a result, Poca would enter the halftime locker room with a 25-24 lead.
Coming out of the break, MCHS would force a Dots timeout a minute and 32 seconds into the third frame after two layups in a row by Drew Hatfield, giving them a 28-25 lead.
Poca would respond with a run of their own, however, as they tallied eight unanswered points and gained a 33-28 edge, including a layup by Vance after he rebounded his own miss.
The rest of the quarter was all Red and White as they closed it out on a 6-0 run with back-to-back long balls by McKneely and junior guard Noah Rittinger, giving head coach Allen Osborne’s team a 39-31 lead at the end of the frame.
McKneely scored five points in the quarter while Vance added four points for the Dots. Drew Hatfield tacked on seven in the period for the Miners.
Vance would convert on a layup to give the road team their biggest lead of the game at 43-33 early in the fourth quarter.
Mingo got within six points four different times in the quarter, but the guests would withstand each rally from the host team.
The Dots would hold the lead for the entire period, and they would hold on to score a hard-fought eight point road victory over Mingo Central.
Drew Hatfield lead both teams in scoring with 21 points on the night for Mingo. Joining him in double figures was Jackson, who notched 10 points. Blankenship added eight for the Miners while Nathan May and Devin Hatfield each chipped in five.
Vance and McKneely each put up 15 points for the Dots, and junior forward Ethan Payne also reached double figures, scoring 11 points.
The loss would be Mingo Central’s first of the season, as they fell to 3-1. They will return to the home front next Friday night after the turn of the New Year as they host sectional rival Logan. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m at Miner Mountain.
Score by quarters
PHS (5-1): 6 19 14 18 — 57
MCHS (3-1): 12 12 7 18 — 49
PHS: I. McKneely 15; N. Vance 15; E. Payne 11; J. Toney 9; N. Rittinger 7
MCHS: Drew Hatfield 21; J. Jackson 10; C. Blankenship 8; Devin Hatfield 5; N. May 5