Wildcats win on white-out senior night
The Paden City boys basketball team faced a gauntlet of games during the week, but came away mostly unscathed, winning four of five games. Their schedule consisted of Clay-Battelle, Bellaire St. Johns, Jefferson County Christian, and two with Beallsville. Except for the JCC Royals, these were all teams that they had previously defeated this season.
Their first test came against the Cee-Bees in a Mason-Dixon Conference clash. The Wildcats won their previous battle 65-61 in a heated contest in Blacksville.
This game would also see two teams playing close. However, one thing that Clay-Battelle didn’t have was Ryan Thoburn.
The Wildcats’ senior exploded for a career-high 35 points along with six rebounds and three assists in a 78-63 win at Bob Burton Gymnasium on Feb. 3.
As if that weren’t enough, fellow senior Ricky Wright nailed his first three pointer just seconds into the first quarter that put him over the 1,000 point mark for his career. He finished the game with 21 points and eight rebounds.
Still, Clay-Battelle fought hard and stayed in the game. At the end of the first quarter, the game was tied at 16-16 and at halftime, the ‘Cats only held a three-point lead at 28-25.
In the third quarter, the game quickly became the Ryan Thoburn and Travis Holmes show. Holmes, who led the Cee-Bees with 26 points, scored 10 of them in the third quarter while Thoburn one-upped him with 11. Overall, the Wildcats were able to pick up four more points to their lead and could play more of their style of game in the fourth quarter.
There they made 10 of 14 foul shots with Thoburn continuing his dominance, scoring 15 points and Wright adding seven to help Paden City earn the win by 15 points.
In addition to Thoburn and Wright, Malakai Anderson had a strong game with a quiet 14 points. He mostly was seen distributing the ball as he picked up another double-double with 10 assists.
Rounding out Paden City were Wes Cosper with four points, while Zach Yost and Chris Loy scored two points each. Overall the team shot an amazing 56.6 percent from the floor.
In the Wildcats’ next game was against Bellaire St. John, a team they defeated by 28 points the first time around. Coach Fred King found himself down one at 9-8 after the first quarter. This time, Anderson took matters into his own hands as he scored eight of his game-high 17 in the second quarter. It helped Paden City gain a 26-22 lead going into the break.
In the second half, Paden City continued with a well-balanced attack. They would outscore the Irish 17-12 in the third and 23-19 in the fourth to go on to win 66-53.
Four Wildcats reached double figures in points. Along with Anderson, Wright scored 16 points, followed by Thoburn and Cosper with 14 points each. Yost added four while Loy and Ronnie Blatt added two.
Overall the team shot 45.5 percent from the field. Anderson and Yost each tallied five caroms. Anderson assisted his team four times while Wright did so three times and registered four steals.
On Friday, the Wildcats honored their five seniors before taking on the Jefferson County Christian Royals, but it was Ricky Wright who provided the lighting.
The 5’6″ senior lit up Bob Burton Gymnasium with 30 points on 12 field goals split equally in front of and beyond the arc. Half of those came in the third quarter when the ‘Cats made their move to go up on the Royals 55-36. Thoburn also provided some of the separation with a 10-point quarter.
The Wildcats scored 19 points in the fourth quarter to go on to win senior night 74-49.
Wright’s 30 was a game high while Thoburn contributed with 23 points. Wes Cosper made a trifecta of seniors in double figures with 10 points. Seniors Ronnie Blatt and Chris Loy also added in two points each for the Wildcats.
Malakai Anderson served well as the court general with seven points, 10 assists, six rebounds, and four steals.
Luke Marshall paced JCC with 14 points.
The lone road trip of the week had Paden City playing Beallsville for the second time in six days. This time, the Blue Devils did their homework and ended Paden City’s winning streak at four.
Beallsville held the lead throughout the game, leading by two at the end of one, four by halftime, and nine with one quarter to play before winning 69-58.
Both teams had four players score in double figures, but aside from the ‘Cats’ four, no one else for Paden City chalked up a point.
Thoburn attempted to bring the Wildcats back with a seven-point third quarter, but Beallsville’s Jordan Darby counter-attacked with nine points in the frame. Anderson finished with a team-high 18 points. Wright added 16 points and five rebounds, and Cosper scored 11 with seven rebounds. Thoburn finished with 13. Darby led both teams with 19 points.
It wasn’t the best shooting night for the Wildcats, who hit 23 shots on 61 attempts for a 36 percent mark.
Overall, the week saw Paden City improve to 12-5 as they enter into Saturday’s Mason-Dixon Conference Night of Champions at Clay-Battelle High School.