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By Staff | Jan 16, 2019

I believe that school rivalries are one of the high school experiences that almost every former student remembers. Ask anyone in attendance at the Hundred versus Paden City boys basketball game on Thursday, Jan. 10. The Wildcats had soundly defeated the Hornets on the home floor on Dec. 18, and was a favorite to do it again. However, the Hornets had other ideas and took advantage of a Wildcat team that has made a habit lately of losing games they should have won. I’ve been around basketball all my life and one thing I know is lack of practice does a few things to hinder your chance of winning.

First, you lose your shooting touch – something you need to work on year round, and your free throw line percentage (something that’s correctable with practice) will fall. Second, you will lose your stamina and conditioning, especially around the holiday season. Third, you will not be prepared for upcoming opponents if you aren’t in the gym. There is plenty more to say about practice and hard work, but for now we’ll leave it at that.

Ask someone who graduated 10, 20, even 30 years ago who their rival school was, and they will most likely remember what school it was, and when or if they ever beat them. School rivalries improve school spirit by banding athletes, students together against a common rival.

Thursday night’s game against Hundred was a rivalry game for two schools of equal size. It was an especially big game for Hundred. Give them credit; they came prepared. I don’t remember the last time Paden City lost a basketball game to the Hornets. I just know it’s been a while. I think if the home team had not slowed it down in the last three minutes, Hundred may have scored a Hundred.

Hundred Coach Virgil Wilkins said he noticed what Paden City was doing early in the first quarter and called a time out, made an adjustment and never looked back. “I’m very proud of the way the team played tonight after the game earlier this year in Paden City,” Coach Wilkins said.

While the back county rivals were celebrating, I’m still evaluating what went wrong for my home team. The past couple weeks the Wildcats had nice comfortable leads in two games and faltered at the end, to drop both contests. I don’t think the kids have thrown in the towel. I believe they aren’t spending enough time in the gym.

There are key factors to improving, and not preparing isn’t one of them. Often times there is not much to do in small communities like ours, so we turn to high school athletic endeavors for our weekly thrills. Hundred got theirs on Thursday; the win, in my opinion, was the equivalent of Paden City knocking off a larger Tyler Consolidated or Magnolia team. By the way, that should have happened on Jan. 5. Again, it showed how lack of practice and preparation can affect the outcome of a contest.

There are obvious pros and cons to such rivalries, but ultimately, I think that these rivalries provide for fun and spirited games and matches.

At Tyler Consolidated the colors silver and black mean everything. Paden City bleeds green and white; it’s just the way it is. As a proud Wildcat, I grew up with the idea that anything, and everything, with the color orange and black, was not something that I should like.

The teams we play have an impact on how many people show up at a game. For example, Paden City had a full house last week when Magnolia came to town. The Silver Knights’ gym was packed when they hosted Paden City last week.

This coming Friday, the Knights will host the annual Boggs Invitational and will take on Magnolia; you can bet they will pack the place. Victory is always sweet, but it is even sweeter when it is against a rival team.

Rivalries in high school will always be exhilarating and amusing. They bring students together to have a good time while cheering on their friends on the field or court. It’s not always about rivalries; often it’s about the underdog defeating the favored team.

On Friday night, the Paden City girls defeated a heavily favored St. Marys team. While I was at another school watching a game, Bruce Crawford took in the Wildcat game, and he said the Paden City girls turned the tables on the Blue Devils like Hundred did to the Paden City boys. He was very excited and happy for the Lady ‘Cats. So you see, playing together like a team and working hard to get better can pay off.

While Friday was just one of those special nights for the Wildcat girls, with the big win over the Blue Devils, Thursday night’s win by Hundred was a great win for their school. I hope the Wildcat boys can get things straightened out and pick up some more wins before the season is lost.

The Tyler Consolidated boys have won four in a row, and Griffin Phillips is showing what he’s capable off. On Friday, against Ritchie County, he lit up the scoreboard for a record-breaking 46 points. Josey Jones, an always steady player for the Silver Knights, broke the 1000 point barrier with a 16 -point performance against Williamstown on Thursday last week.

The Silver Knights will host the annual Boggs Invitational this weekend. The event kicks off tomorrow night with two girls games and ends on Saturday with the championships. The Silver Knights boys play Magnolia in the first round on Friday. Come early, and get a good seat. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com