2015 season ends at Sectionals for ‘Cats
It was a night to remember in Paden City on March 12 as the boys basketball team took to the court at Bob Burton Gymnasium for the Region I, Section II championship. Though their opponent was the 21-3 Wheeling Central Maroon Knights with one of the top players in the state leading the team, the Wildcats and their tried-and-true Green and White fans packing the stands, were ready.
“This is so awesome for our boys to see what kind of excitement they have generated in this town,” said a returning alumni in attendance at the game. “We’re here to root on the team and hopefully get the win, sure, but we’re mainly here to support these kids. They deserve it.”
While the Paden City support was certainly in evidence, the same can be said for the large crowd of Maroon Knight supporters following their team down the river taking up their fair share of the bleachers.
What was billed to be “the game to watch” in the local area, the two teams hit the court hard in front of a capacity crowd, ready to play. When the dust from the competition ended, it was the Maroon Knights moving on to Regional competition.
“We played a very, very good Wheeling Central basketball team,” said Wildcat head coach, Fred King. “We did all we could do. They shot better than us and we missed an important three and at least five foul shots there at one point which would have made all the difference in this game.”
“You know, you don’t have one of top rated players in the state like Chase Harler on your team and players to back him up like Central does and not have a good team. We played hard against them, but they had to play just as hard against us to get the win.”
Central started the game fast and furious, connecting on a few lay-ups and long shot to go up 17-8 after the first period of play. Paden City toned them down some in the second, with good decisions in the paint and connecting on an inside shot or two themselves, to trail at the half, 30-18.
In the second half, the ‘Cats played hard and tight to keep the Knights from the net and managed a slight comeback, but missed shots on their own side of the court cost them in the end, taking the loss 66-53, and ending their 2015 season.
“We wanted the win, but so did they,” coach King said. “They are a very good team and will represent the Region well at state.”
Senior Kennedy Cain put 16 points on the scoreboard for the Wildcats in the game. He also brought down five rebounds, had two steals, and three assists. Sophomore Luke Cooper added 13 points for the Green, had four rebounds, one block and a steal; Zach Heasley chipped in 10 points had six rebounds, one block and was credited with three assists; Hayden Hizer, 10 points, three rebounds, four steals, five assists; Craig Allen, four points, two rebounds and two assists; and Logan Carroll contributed two rebounds in the effort.
The Wildcats finished the 2015 season with 12 wins and 13 losses, and will lose four seniors to graduation in May in Cain, Heasley, Allen, and Brandon Cross.
“These four guys will be sorely missed next year,” the coach said. “A team couldn’t ask for four better senior representatives than these guys. They’ve seen some adversity this year, we haven’t backed down from a challenge, and have played some excellent teams, and these guys have been right there through it all.”
“Kennedy and Zach both hit 1,000 points in their careers this season, Craig has been a nice, steady, very dependable player for us and we were so glad Brandon chose to come back for his senior season with us. Assistant Coach Jeff Bowers and I are so proud of the work they’ve done and fine young men they have become. We just hope that something they’ve learned during their years with us assists them in some way in their future.”
“We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors and in baseball and track this coming Spring.”
All in all, win or lose, King said he is not the least disappointed in his team. “Our kids have worked very hard to get to this last game this year. We’ve put them in tough situations with tough opponents and they’ve come out the better for it. They’ve seen adversity and dealt with it successfully. All we can hope at the end of the day is that we had some hand in helping them establish a good foundation for any future plans they may have.”
King also was very complimentary of the support offered to the team by the school, the students, the community, and alumni at Paden City High School.
“They always support the kids here at Paden City, and the support they have given this team this year has been tremendous. It sure was something to walk into that gym that night and see and hear the crowd. It was certainly great for the kids, and we really appreciate it.”