‘Cats fall in Mason-Dixon NOC game
Most coaches will probably tell you this time of the season isn’t the best to be in a slump, and Paden City’s boys basketball team may have found itself in one.
After starting the season a remarkable 12-4, the Wildcats have dropped three straight in games with Beallsville, Bridgeport and Clarksburg Notre Dame.
The Wildcats dropped a decision to the Blue Devils last week and were looking to regroup against Bridgeport in a game that had large implications on the way the OVAC tournament would be seeded.
In their second matchup with the Bulldogs, the ‘Cats found themselves in a low-scoring, but tightly contested affair.
For the first quarter of the game, Bridgeport used the abilities of Mike Carr and Nate Maleski to get the early advantage over the Wildcats as each player scored three baskets.
Paden City stayed close with a couple hoops by both Ryan Thoburn and Josh Bennett fused with a three by Ricky Wright to end the quarter with a 13-11 score.
Bridgeport’s defense came alive in the second to set the tempo the rest of the game. Wright hit another three in the second, but it would be the ‘Cats’ last field goal of the half. Ronnie Blatt’s solo foul shot was the last point Bridgeport would give up before going into the locker room down 22-15.
The second half would favor Paden City more. In the third quarter, the ‘Cats held a 7-4 edge to cut the Bulldog’s lead down to four. The Wildcats would edge out Bridgeport in the fourth quarter as well, but it was only by one as the hosts went on to win 37-34.
Wright finished with 17 to lead both teams in scoring, but was the only Wildcat in double figures. Thoburn finished with six points, followed by Wes Cosper and Bennett with four each. Malakai Anderson had two points and Blatt ended with one.
The loss resulted in Paden City being seeded No. 3 in the OVAC tournament. As a result, they returned to Bridgeport to play the Bulldogs on Tuesday, but results were not available at press time.
Paden City’s other conference affiliation, the Mason-Dixon Conference, held their night of champions on Saturday at Clay-Battelle High School.
The Wildcats weren’t in the championship game as they had hoped, but had a respectable placement game against Clarksburg Notre Dame during the afternoon.
Things looked gloomy for Paden City in the early going as the Irish rushed out to a 14-2 lead on a well-balanced attack that saw nine different players score.
The ‘Cats came on strong near the end of the quarter scoring nine of the last 14 points.
The second quarter was more balanced, but Notre Dame still held the advantage thanks to 6’9″ Ceaser Goodman, preventing Coach King from implementing an inside game. By halftime, Clarksburg increased their lead to 29-18.
Paden City amounted a comeback in the second half, outscoring the Irish 16-12 in the third, and eventually tied the game at 43 after a trey by Wright capped off a 14-2 run of their own.
However, Notre Dame was able to remain cool, calm and collected down the stretch, making crucial shots giving them the lead once again and forcing the ‘Cats to foul.
The Irish would take advantage and hit four consecutive foul shots and went on to win 53-48.
Wright led Paden City with 15 points and was aided by Anderson with14 points, the only other ‘Cat with double figures. Thoburn and Cosper both finished with seven points and Bennett tallied five.
The Achilles’ Heel for the ‘Cats was Goodman. The red-headed giant lived up to his name, scoring 20 points.