Wildcats Hang Tough at Magnolia
NEW MARTINSVILLE – Despite playing without senior leader and high scorer 6′ 5” Luke Cooper, the Wildcats played well with the state’s sixth ranked Class A team and defending state champs on their home floor in New Martinsville. Anyone who thought this would be an easy contest for the Blue Eagles got a good lesson in high school basketball as Coach Fred King had his squad fired up and ready to play.
“We knew we had to shoot the ball well and play good defense in order to stay in the game and I’m proud to say my kids rose to the challenge,” King said. “We only used five players. When someone as good as Cooper is out of your lineup, it means someone else has to step up and we had kids do that tonight.”
Paden City jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead, but the Eagles came right back and scored the next 10 to take the lead for good. Paden City would not quit, and an array of three-point shooting made things interesting the whole game. With a large height disadvantage and no depth, the Cat’s turned to the shooting of Aaron Heasley and Zach Yeater, who had six three-pointers apiece. Heasley finished the contest with a career high 24 points. The Cat’s are 4-4 with the loss, but King is confident they are getting better with each game.
“How much more could you ask of five kids?” he asked. “Our best player was out of the lineup. We’re playing on the road against one of the best teams in the state and coming off of two road games with Valley and Bishop Donahue. Heck, Magnolia didn’t even pull their starters until there was a minute and a half left.”
Turnovers hurt Paden City early and they were out-rebounded 37-18. Preston Boswell, one of the state’s leading scorers, had 39 points that evening with many of them coming from easy buckets beating the defense back. Magnolia goes about eight deep and were able to keep fresh legs in to Paden City’s disadvantage. Mitch Winters backed up Boswell with 12 markers while Paden City’s Yeater finished with 22 points. Overall the Cat’s hit 13 three’s. Deven Price backed up Heasley and Yeater with 10 markers while Hayden Hizer and Logan Carroll each had four.
With the Cat’s down 13 at the half, they outscored Magnolia by one in the second half only to fall by the final score of 76-64. The Wildcats will be at home tonight against Linsly and Friday against Bishop Donahue.