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By Staff | Feb 6, 2019

Last Tuesday, Jan. 29, was the rematch between Paden City and Magnolia’s boys basketball teams. In the first contest this season the Blue Eagles came from 16 down to get a 69-60 win behind a fourth quarter rally, sparked by freshman Trevor Williamson. The 5′ 5″ point guard gave a shooting exhibition in the final three-and-a-half minutes of play, scoring 19 points while hitting five three-pointers.

Lesson learned! Never let a shooter (who by the way doesn’t shoot a jump shot) spot up and shoot. The idea is to get a man on him and a hand in his face. Maybe even block one or two! But come on now, don’t play a loose zone and allow it to happen again.

Back track to game one and fast forward to game two, same results only different story. On Tuesday, Williamson started out early in hitting his first three-pointer, then his second three, then a third, and somewhere in between two more points to finish the first quarter with 11, giving the Blue Eagles an 18-14 lead.

The kid’s a nice player for a freshman. Give him a look, and he’ll make you pay. Guard him, and you’ll see different results. Watch a team during warmups, and you’ll see a lot of good shooters. Most of these kids can hit an open shot. This kid, however, is more dangerous than most. He’s not what you call a streak shooter. He’s more reliable than that, and with each shot made, he gains more confidence.

Anyway, back to the ball game. Williamson finished with 27 points, including seven three-pointers. the Blue Eagles got another win over the Wildcats, 72-38. I felt like leaving at the break, but my inner sense said, “Stick around. The ‘Cats will make some halftime adjustments, and get back in the game.” Oh well, you can’t win them all.

After the game and trying to get to the exit as quick as possible, I received a slight tap on the shoulder. Turning around, expecting someone wanting my opinion on the game, I was surprised to see the infamous Reader, W.Va. sports extraordinaire, the former Mountaineer distant running captain. With a big grin on his face and the same wit we’ve all come to know, he shouts out, “Who authored that monstrosity?!”

Being one who’s not often lost for words, I did the most honorable thing I could. I told the truth! “Not the Paden City boys. Give Magnolia coach Dave Tallman credit; he prepared his team well for this one.”

Several games were cancelled last week due to the school closings. All games scheduled for Wednesday through Friday were wiped out. With no school, practices were even cancelled. That’s a good time to get your kids in a gym somewhere and work on their free throws, rebounding, and shooting. Good time to keep their conditioning up. Guarantee you, it makes a difference. All it takes is a volunteer and a place to play. Both are available.

We’re well past the halfway point of the winter sports season, and spring is fast approaching. Each year it is hard to watch as seniors make their way on the field or court for their last performances. Even though they don’t always finish up like they want, most of them play as hard as they can, right down to their last game. They start as little kids in the youth leagues and work their way up through high school. Always with the notion that they can get to the state playoffs or make it to Charleston.

When one season ends, it’s on to the next sport for most kids around here. They play football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, run track and anything else they get a chance to do. Eventually it all ends, and before you know it, they are gone and raising kids of their own.

Several times in the past I have written about motivation. Even when things aren’t going too well, it’s still possible to get motivated. Set some end-of-the-season goals, and go all out to reach them. Even if the season ends on a sour note, get a good start on the next sport. Anyway you look at it, there’s still time to finish the year on a positive note.

This goes for all the schools locally. You’ll soon be running track, playing baseball, and playing softball. For now though, give it your best shot at winning some basketball games. When it ends turn your attention to the next sport. Stay on track with what you’re doing; stay focused, and give 100 percent. Be a winner, not a quitter!

Last week I ran a picture of two ex-Sistersville basketball players surrounding their coach in 1978. I made the mistake of putting the wrong name for the coach. The coach of those two guys, and the 1978 team was Mick Price. I said he was Ray Barnhart. Ray was on my mind for some reason. I knew him and Mick both back in the day, and they were both excellent coaches. They knew basketball. Mick is still at it, some 30 years later, as head man for the Ravenswood Red Devils.

Speaking of coaches, someone sent me the win-loss stats for the local football teams since their inception. The Tyler County Red Raiders started football in 1915 and finished in 1992. During that time, they had an overal record of 313 wins, 349 losses and 22 ties. Their winningest head coach was John Stender, who roamed the sidelines for 15 seasons and won 107 games while losing 54. His teams made seven playoff appearances and won one state championship in 1983, 16-14 over Sistersville.

Paden City’s winningest coach was Henry Healy, who roamed the sidelines from 1956 through 1970. He chalked up 104 wins and had 50 losses in 16 seasons. Healey guided the Wildcats to three undefeated seasons – 1957, 1963 and 1966. In 1967, back when only the top two teams made the playoffs, his Wildcats played Monongah High School led by Quarterback Nick Saben and running back Kerry Maurbury. The ‘Cats lost in the championship game played at Fairmont East-West Stadium, 21-12. Both teams met again in 1968 with Monongah again getting the win, 26-0. However, Healy wasn’t through as he led the ‘Cats to the championship the following year with a win over Wirt County, 20-0.

Paden City started playing football in 1951. Since then, they have compiled an overall record of 336 wins, vs. 342 losses and six ties. Coach Brent Croasmun is the longest running coach in school history with 20 seasons – from 1999 through 2018. Steve Deem only coached at Paden City for two years but won 20 games and lost two while making the playoffs in both seasons and winning the championship in 1979 over Bishop Donahue.

Sistersville played football from 1902 through 1992. During that time, the Tigers won 431 games while lossing 328 and having 33 ties. Top winningest coach for the Tigers was Lou Nocida with 103 wins and only 18 losses. During that stretch, his teams captured five state championships and was runners-up twice, while making the playoffs eight of his 10 years at the helm. Two times during that stretch, Nocida and Tyler County’s Stender met in the championship game with each winning once. Sistersville went undefeated in 1966 with their only blemish being a tie with Paden City, who also went undefeated.

Tyler Consolidated has had 138 wins and 136 losses since starting in 1993. They have had three coaches with Stender taking over when the two Tyler County schools consolidated. From 1993 through 2003, Stender had 68 wins and 51 losses, while making the playoffs five times. That gave Coach Stender a career football coaching of 173 wins and 106 losses over a combined 25 years of consecutive coaching in Tyler County. The Silver Knights’ current coach is former Stender player Ryan Walton, who has a 28-25 record with three playoff appearances in five seasons. eparsons@tylerstarnews.com