Paden City vs Magnolia, Madonna, Meadow Bridge
PADEN CITY — A good Meadow Bridge Wildcats’ team took the Paden City Wildcats down to the wire only to fall short on Saturday in a semi-final round of the WVHIT tournament.
With the win, PCHS Wildcats will now play Union, a team they defeated two weeks ago in a barn burner, for the championship at Robert C. Byrd High School at 8 p.m. Friday.
Saturday’s game at Paden City was a good one with both teams exchanging baskets right down to the final minute. The home team took a 19-15 first quarter lead thanks to Trey Slider and Aaron Heasley lighting it up from outside and finishing the frame with eight points each.
The second quarter belonged to Meadow Bridge, a much larger team who used their height down low to tie things up at the half, 27-27.
Paden City, which was having trouble with the visitors’ press, turned the ball over 24 times in the game, but still managed to stay close and at the end of three it was a one point game in Meadow Bridge’s favor 41-40.
The hometanding Wildcats, who were plagued with four fouls on Heasley, clawed back in the fourth and with under a minute to go and down by one Hayden Hizer made a clean steal at the visitors’ end and drove the length of the floor with two defenders riding him. When Hizer went to the bucket, he was knocked off balance but banked it in giving the Wildcats the lead for good. From there, the visitors missed three opportunities to score and were forced to foul putting the Wildcats on the line for the double bonus.
Paden City missed its foul shots down the stretch, but still managed to come away with a big 55-53 win.
“That was a heck of a ball game. You know we had four players in double figures and that was a major factor.”
“We were very reckless handling the ball and our passing was not the best, but some of the younger kids stepped up and made some big plays. Trey Slider shot the ball well and Seth Bohrer made a huge bucket off a nice pass from Hizer late that really was needed. So we still have some work to do, but I am satisfied with the effort,” Coach Fred King said.
King gave Heasley and Hizer high marks.
“What can I say about Hizer; he is a great leader who takes everything the opposition throws at him. A very tough kid who gets things done. If you were to add up his points, assists and everything else, he probably accounted for 35 points or more today. Heasley is getting better with each game. His shooting is as good as anyone and now he has learned to put the ball on the floor and go to the bucket. He’s becoming a complete player and there is not a better rebounder around. He battles with much larger kids every game and most of the time he comes out on top. I am very proud of him.”
Paden City improved to 9-9 on the season with the win and with the way the ball has bounced, they could easily be 15-3 if it had gone their direction a few more times.
Blue Eagles Nip Wildcats; Heasley Scores 41 Points
Magnolia turned an eight-point halftime deficit into a third quarter 45-44 lead and then fought off a 20-point second half scoring output by Heasley to capture their second four-point win over the Wildcats this year – 67-63.
The Blue Eagles came out in the first period and scored the first bucket on a low post play to Brooks Parsons. Paden City came right back with one of Heasley’s eight three’s on the night, but Magnolia’s Parsons got another easy bucket to take a 4-3 early lead and force a Wildcat time out.
Coach King made a defensive adjustment and the Wildcats scored the next two buckets and had a 13-10 point lead before Magnolia tied the score with 38 seconds left in the quarter. Paden City held strong for the last shot, but it fell short and the quarter ended 13-13.
The second quarter belonged to the Wildcats as they outplayed the Blue Eagles by the tune of 18-10. Heasley finished the quarter with 11 to give him 21 at the half.
Magnolia changed their defensive assignment putting Parsons a quicker and stronger player on Heasley to try and slow him down. Heasley continued to get his points and ended with a game and career high of 41 but it wasn’t enough as Magnolia’s senior depth pulled out the comeback against the young Wildcats.
Paden City’s Hayden Hizer finished with 13 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists. Heasley was also all over the boards as he collared 12 rebounds and had two blocks.
“We played as good as we could. We are young and inexperienced and we only play five players. That is a good Magnolia team loaded with seniors. I can’t say enough about my two seniors, they play with the heart of a lion and I wouldn’t trade them for anyone in the state. We play some very good competition and don’t back down from anyone,” King said. “Our younger kids are going to have to step up and make some plays and we will be hard to beat. We are not only a young team, but we are a very small team. We try to use our speed and physicality to our advantage.”
Matt Saxon ended with five points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. Bohrer had four points and Slider grabbed four rebound and had four assists for the Wildcats.
Leading the way for Magnolia was a trio of double digit players with Leo Herrick at 24 while Tyler Williamson hit for 16 and Parsons finished with 14. Parsons also collared 12 rebounds.
Madonna Whips Wildcats 75-47
Paden City made the long trip up the river on Wednesday for an important OVAC battle with the Blue Dons. The Wildcats, fresh off a loss to Magnolia the previous night and playing their fifth game in the past seven days, had a good first half and were down only seven before the Blue Dons turned on the heat in the last half by outscoring the Wildcats 40-19 for the win.
Joey Ewusiak led Madonna with 24 points while Tevon Jeter scorched the nets for 21 to improve their record to 11-8 on the season and give them a shot in the OVAC Class A playoffs.
The Wildcats, who fell to 8-9 with the loss, were led in scoring by senior guard Hizer, who knocked in five 3’s and ended with 20 points. Heasley, a 27-point per game performer, was held to a season low of 14. Also scoring for the Wildcats were Saxon with two three’s for six points and Slider hit a three and ended with five points. Bohrer scored a bucket as well.