Paden City Wildcats Start a New Era
After 15 years under the tutorship of veteran coach Fred King, the Paden City Wildcats will have a new look this season. Coach Jeff Hohn, a New Martinsville graduate and ex-basketball standout from 1977, assisted by Paden City, head baseball and football coach Brent Croasmun, will try to mold a group of young and inexperienced into a basketball team.
Holn, who was head coach of the Hundred Hornets for eight years, has been away from the game for several seasons but believes he is worthy of the task before him.
“I don’t have any superstars on this team but I do have a group of kids that are willing to do whatever I ask of them to be competitive. We won’t be fancy but you can bet we will be well conditioned and fundamentally sound. We have been busy practicing our shooting and working on our defense. Every coach will tell you that defense will win games, so that is something we hope to be good at. Another area we want to master is our foul shooting, we believe we have some players who will get to the line and that will win games as well,” stated coach Hohn.
The Wildcats lost it’s top two players from last season to graduation. Aaron Heasley, a 20 point scorer and the teams leading rebounder, plus four year starting point guard Hayden Hizer, a scoring threat and defensive stalwart will be hard to replace. However, like every year someone else has to step in and fill that gap.
“We think we have some kids who can put some points on the board. Whenever you lose players the caliper of Heasley and Hizer, it’s always difficult to recover. I like what I see so far, junior Matt Saxon will most likely be at the point for us. He performed well last year and has matured into a more complete player. We look for him to be one of our leaders. Also back is Trey Slider, who we are counting heavily on. We know Trey can knock down the outside shot and he has a knack for getting to the bucket, he is also an excellent foul shooter. Hopefully, we can get the production from these two that we expect,” coach Holn said.
Seth Bohrer, a 5’10” senior forward is also back from last season and will more than likely man a starting spot. Bohrer, is an excellent defender and has the quickest hands on the team. His shot has improved and his first step to the bucket should provide some inside scoring.
Looking to nail down the center spot will be Garrett Cross, a 6’2″ senior who played last year but went down for the second half of the season. If Cross stays healthy he could be a force around the boards. “We are hoping Garrett can give us that inside presence that will open up our outside game, ” said Hohn.
Others vying for playing time include junior Ethan Cross a 5’7″ shooting guard, Cross is an excellent shooter, who is getting better with each practice. Anthony Newman, a 5′ 8″ junior will be counted on as a role player, who can provide help on defense and offense. Newman can play forward or guard. Last year he saw quality playing time and is in the running for a starting job.
“We have some first year players who could easily get on the floor and make their presence known. C.W. Harton, a 6′ 2″ senior should see some time on the floor and take up some space in the middle, while another first year senior Dalton Schupbach, at 5’10” may be able to make a contribution as well.”
“Our success will depend on how quick these kids buy into the system. We will try and play an up and down game, yet we want to be patient on offense and not go down floor and throw up bad shots. The kids are working real hard and I am extremely happy with that. Once they get a few games under their belt, I believe we will be able to compete. Our strong point is our attitude, these kids are all very coachable and for the first time in a while there is competition for playing time and I think that is good,” added Coach Hohn.
The Wildcats will open the season on December 5, at home against the Beallsville, Ohio, Blue Devils, starting at 7:30 p.m.