Wildcats Take Down Rival Magnolia, Advance
Paden City used a combination of timely shooting, close-out defense, and hard-nosed basketball to get a big come-from-behind double overtime, 69-68, victory over Magnolia, avenging two regular season losses to the home-team Blue Eagles.
The number four seed Eagles and the fifth seed Wildcats put on a great display of never-say-die basketball in the opening round of the West Virginia Section I Region II basketball tournament on Saturday, Feb. 23 in New Martinsville. The Wildcats fell behind early; at the end of one it was 15-7, Magnolia. The Wildcats had two 3-pointers from senior guard Trey Slider and a free throw from Jason Anderson for their only points. Magnolia had four players score in the period, with Jake Gamble leading the way with five.
The second period was not much better for Paden City as they managed just 10 points, while Magnolia got 12 with freshman sharpshooter Trevor Williamson hitting two three-balls for half of the Blue Eagles’ total in the frame. Slider and Saxon each hit five in the period for Paden City.
Down 12 at the break, the ‘Cats came out and gained the momentum, scoring the first four points to pull to within eight. Magnolia took it back to 10, before the Wildcats hit two straight baskets to make it a six-point game after three quarters.
In the fourth period Magnolia went back up nine, but Ty Cain went to work, getting a much-needed three from the wing and a short jumper. He later added a nice drive and scoop shot to make it a two-point game. Saxon added five points in the quarter, while Anthony Newman and Jason Anderson both added three. Three of Saxon’s points came at the buzzer when he faked right and cut left, hitting a jumper from beyond the arc that swished through, sending the game into overtime, 48-48.
In the first overtime, both teams were hot, and it was back and forth. Slider hit two 3’s for the Wildcats and had eight in the period. Gamble had 12 of Magnolia’s 15, including a three, as time ran out to tie the contest at 63 and send it to the second extra period.
Magnolia scored the first five points of the second overtime and seemed to have the game in hand as they led, 68-63, with 1:23 left. Walter Joy, who hit a huge three in the first overtime for Paden City, got the ‘Cats on the board with a short jumper in the lane, and Slider made a cutting drive to the bucket, after getting a steal, to make it 68-67. The Blue Eagles had the ball – with 36 seconds to play – but turned it over, and Paden City worked it in to Anderson, who went up for a basket with 4 seconds to play. The ball was knocked out of bounds with 3.1 on the clock, with the ball belonging to Paden City. With the clock reading 2.7, they inbounded to Saxon -who went up for a three and was hit hard straight on. He went to the line with .3 seconds showing on the clock and calmly sank the first two of three tries to put the ‘Cats up, 69-68.
Magnolia tossed it in for a desperation shot, that fell short, and the win belonged to the ‘Cats.
Magnolia’s Jake Gamble was the game’s high scorer with 31 points, while Trent Scheibellhood and Williamson each countered with 12. Gamble and Williamson each knocked down four 3-pointers. The Blue Eagles got seven points from Postlethwait and four from Sebastian Stickler, while Miller added two.
Paden City was paced by the all-around game of Slider, who hit four 3-pointers and 5-6 from the charity stripe. He ended the game with 24 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals. He had ample support with Saxon getting 15, including his heroic three and his two game-winning free throws. Cain added nine points and grabbed six rebounds, despite limited play and fouling out. Newman and Anderson each came through with eight points. Newman had two 3-pointers and was 2-2 from the line, while Anderson went 6-7 from the line and added a basket – while also collecting six rebounds and blocking two shots. Joy got all five of his points in the critical overtime.
The win advanced the Wildcats to the semi-final on the road at St. Marys, which was played last night.