‘Cats looking to be the team to beat in 2014
In his 14th season, Paden City Head Coach Fred King returns the same lineup he ended with plus two, to get ready for the 2014-15 campaign. He will return starters 6’7 senior Kennedy Cain, 6’4 senior Zach Heasley, 6’4 and 6’4 junior Luke Cooper, 6’1 senior Craig Allen, and 5’8 point guard Hayden Hizer to a team that woke up Class-A boys basketball with a new basketball power in the mix.
The Wildcats finished the 2013-2014 season with its third straight H.I.T. Runnerup championship, and a victory over the Blue Eagles has filled its schedule with excellent basketball powers, like Magnolia, Williamstown, Wheeling Central, Bishop Donahue, Monroe Central, Linsly as well as playing Man inside the Charleston Civic Center to get his cagers ready for the second season come tournament time.
With the entire starting lineup in tact, the Wildcats should be a handful from the get-go. “We should be pretty good, but so is everybody else,” stated King. “We strengthened our schedule a bit this season. We could start the season 0-5, but still have a pretty good team. To be the best, you must play the best, and we are not shying away from anyone.”
The Wildcats open the season with Valley in their Christmas Classic, who returns the bulk of their lineup, and after their Christmas Classic, they will tangle with teams like Williamstown, Bishop Donahue, Magnolia, Beallsville before playing in the Division I, H.I.T. first round against a bigger school to start the season against one of the toughest Class-A schedules in the country.
Cain and Heasley look to be the main scorers on the team, but don’t count out Cooper, Hizer and Allen to produce in double figures as well. This season, the Wildcats will have a bench to work with. Besides returning letterman Deven Price and Aaron Heasley, King will also have available 5’11 Brandon Cross and 6’2 Logan Carroll to throw into the mix.
Over the summer, Cain played summer ball all over the country trying to improve his game. He looks to be in mid-season form all ready, and is ready to showcase his skills against some top-notch ball clubs. If teams focus on stopping Cain, the ‘Cats have Zach Heasley who can light it up. At 6;4 most teams don’t have the personnel to stop two big boys’. And, when you throw Cooper at 6’4 who can also shoot from the outside, and take it to the hole. Teams can’t stop all three.
Defensively, when you put all three with their arms out wide down low, it will be almost impossible for teams to take it inside. And if teams can’t knock it down from the outside on its first try, it will be pretty darn hard to get a rebound with those guys defending.
Last season, Paden City didn’t have a bench that could handle one of the big-three’s spots, but this season in comes Cross or Carroll. They each know the system, as they each has played under King in the past. Cross was a starter inside a few few years past, while Carroll at 6’2 is ready to let the chips fall where they may.
But, lets not forget about Hizer, Allen, Price and Aaron Heasley. Hizer as a freshman learned quite a bit as the conductor of this well-oiled machine, while Allen can do it all, including taking on the opposing teams best offensive scorer.
This season, the younger Heasley, Aaron has grown a couple more inches and like his brother Zach can shoot the rock from anywhere on the court. “i haven’t seen a shot that Aaron doen’t like and when left open he can light it up,” said King. Price is another guard that King just raves about. “Deven has one speed and that’s maximine speed all the time. “If we can bring him down a few miles per hour and not full throttle all the time you will see a guy that can be very dangerous,” added King.
“Craig is a smart boy that gives everything he got and more. He works hard and has knocked down some shots for us when we really needed them,” added King.
We could go on-and-on about the dynamic duo of Cain and Heasley, but in this story you will just need to go out and watch these two guys go out and compete.
You can see them compete along with the rest of the Paden City Wildcats, Dec. 12 against the Valley Lumberjacks at 7:30 p.m. in the Bob and Sharon Burton Christmas Classic