Wildcats Reunite After 30 Years
On Saturday, March 18, the finals of the WVSSAC state basketball tournament were held at the Charleston Civic Center. All three championships games were exciting to watch and all were in doubt right up to the last minute.
Winning the Class A title was Clarksburg Notre Dame for the first time in school history. The Irish had a tough road to the championship as they had to oust top seeded Wheeling Central to get to the finals. That they did in relatively easy fashion on Friday and then came right back to capture the crown with an eight point win over the number two seed Ravenswood Red Devils.
It was exciting to watch as former WVU guard Jared West coach at Notre Dame seemed to be outdone by his own son Jared Jr. who made the All-Tournament team and put on a dazzling display in the final game of his high school career.
As exciting as the games were, one of the highlights was the recognition of the 1987 Paden City Wildcats coached by Legendary Coach Bob Burton. The team was a trill to watch as they went through the season without a blemish on their record and ended 27-0 to capture the state crown undefeated, giving Burton his second championship.
The WVSSAC captured the moment as the Wildcats took the floor once again after 30 years. Nearly every coach, team member and manager were in attendance for the event and brought the crowd to their feet as they were acknowledged.
“I’m just as proud today of this fine group of men as I was 30 years ago, they are true examples of the fine folks in Paden City, I am trilled that nearly everyone was able to make it back and if I had it to do all over again I would want this same group. They are leaders today in society just as they were on the basketball court and that says a lot about how this all came about,” said coach Burton.
Paden City may never make it back to Charleston but the times they were there are remembered by many throughout the state. Hopefully the WVSSAC will consider adding a fourth class so some of these smaller schools can once again have a chance to compete for the title of the states best.
One of the travesties of this years tournament was only two players from the Class A championship team Clarksburg Notre Dame making All-Tournament. While three were chosen from a team who they defeated by 20 in the semi-finals. Someone messed up big time there.