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By Staff | Jan 24, 2018
The Paden City Wildcats captured the 1973 Class A state basketball championship. Below, Paden City landed three on the all-tournament team in Charleston in 1973.

In 1973, for the second year in a row, Paden City made in to the Class A state championship game. However, the 1973 outcome was different as the high-powered Wildcats, led by Coach Bob Burton, used a furious fourth quarter comeback to defeat the same Oakvale team they had lost to the year before.

After finishing the regular season with a 12-8 record, the PC squad went on a tear in the playoffs, winning both the sectional and regional titles and advancing to the State Tournament in Charleston. The trip down south started out as a disaster when the team bus broke down on the way, and the boys arrived in the Capitol City an hour late. They then found out the hotel had messed up their reservation, and there was no rooms available. The team then drove to St. Albans, where Norm Trowbridge’s aunt lived. She got together with some neighbors who put the boys up for the night. The next morning, Coach Burton worked to get breakfast for the boys, and they were off to the game.

Once there, they found no easy task in front of them as they were pitted against the number one ranked and unbeaten Harts High School team. The Wildcats, once again – as they had done throughout the playoff – rose to the occasion and used a second-half rally to come from behind for the win 76-70. During the run, Paden City outscored Harts, 40-19, during the second half. The Wildcats ended up making 22-26 free throws, with Billy Goots and Norman Throwbrige combining for 49 points. It was Randy Slider, however, who quarterbacked the team with his ball handling skills and defensive pressure. Meanwhile, defending champion Oakvale sidelinded unbeaten Piedmont, 63-48, to set up the rematch from a year earlier with the Cats.

Just like in the semi-final with Harts, it looked bleak for Paden City as Oakvale took a 45-34 lead into the fourth quarter, but just as they did the night before, the Wildcats hung the crepe on the Oakvale charges and outscored the defending champs, 24-12, in the fourth quarter to get the win. Down 12, with just over five minutes to play, the chances of a Paden City win seemed mighty slim, but the Green and White was not about to fold. Burton took a timeou, and the Wildcats came out fired up and ready to go. A field goal by Trowbridge, on a pretty pass from Goots, with under a minute to go gave the Cats the lead and decided the issue. With 28 seconds to go, the Owls tried to work the ball to their all-stater Alexander, but Paden City’s Slider covered him like a blanket, and he was unable to get loose for the shot. Goots hit for 18, Trowbridge, 15; and Slider, 10 – plus seven steals. All three were named to the all-tournament team, with Slider being named for the second year in a row, something even Jerry West never accomplished.