Wildcats Post Victories Over Clay-Battelle, Hornets
One of the many things that defines a team is its ability to win close games and its ability to win games on the road.
In the past week, Paden City has been able to achieve both feats twice in two games as the Wildcats’ win streak was increased to four with victories over Hundred and Clay-Battelle. Both wins came by less than four points.
Their first victory capped off 2008 as they made the cross-county trek to Hundred for position in the Mason-Dixon Conference. Even though the Wildcats only had four players who scored, all of them reached double figures.
It would catch Hundred by surprise, despite having the game’s leading scorer in Corey Kimble who finished with 25 points.
Paden City rushed out to a 19-13 lead after one quarter of play to take the early advantage and went into the locker room up five with the score standing at 34-29. When the Wildcats won the third quarter 18-12, the game appeared to be in hand.
The Hornets had other things in mind. One of them was sending Paden City to the foul line as the majority of their free throws (22) came in the fourth quarter. Paden City made only 16 of 30 the entire evening. Six of those they missed were on the front end of 1-and-1’s, allowing Hundred to sneak back into the game.
Scoring 21 points in the final frame, the hosts came within two points. The Wildcats were able to hold off the Hornets’ last attempt though, and came away with the 64-62 decision.
“Free throw shooting was not very good,” Coach Fred King said. “We executed our offense very well. We shot very well. We got anything we wanted offensively, but down the stretch when they took us out of offense and we got fouled, we couldn’t make our free throws. If we make our free throws, we win by 15 or 16 points going away.”
Leading the way for Paden City were Ricky Wright and Ryan Thoburn who netted 19 points each. Wright hit six three-pointers, two each in the first three quarters. Additionally, Wes Cosper scored 15 and Malakai Anderson followed up with 11 points.
Cosper picked up a double-double with 12 rebounds. Fellow senior Chris Loy pulled down nine rebounds and Anderson recorded seven boards as the Wildcats had 41 rebounds overall in the game. Anderson tallied eight assists.
Hundred had a trio of double-figure scorers. In addition to Kimble, both Logan McDiffitt and Emery Smith added 12 points. Shane Kuhn and Jesse Gorby each scored four points.
On Friday, Paden City would travel the same road literally and figuratively as they faced fellow Mason-Dixon Conference foe Clay-Battelle.
At Blacksville, the Wildcats and Cee-Bees appeared to be set for a back and forth game throughout most of the evening. The start of the game was a clear indication after Paden City took an early 4-0 lead, only to have the hosts take the lead right back at 5-4. After the first points were scored, there were nine ties or lead changes in the first quarter.
Clay-Battelle was able to create some space and go up by six in the second quarter at various points. It looked as though the Cee-Bees would reach the break with all of the momentum and the aforementioned six-point lead, but a three by Wright at the buzzer cut the lead to three at 34-31.
More importantly, it gave the Wildcats the momentum they needed to make their push in the second half. Paden City would use that to regain the lead after Wright hit another three coming off of a double screen for a small 40-39 lead.
“The difference between a junior and senior is now they know we can enforce our will on people,” said Coach King. “That’s what we did here tonight. We got down by six. Last year that would have been a 12 or 14 point lead before we got done. But we were able to calm down, run a couple of nice sets, got people open and made some shots.”
On their next trip on offense, Wright would spot up and hit another bonus bomb to give the ‘Cats a four-point lead. A Cosper steal and ensuing layup immediately after would cause the Bees to call a timeout and try and regroup.
This time, Clay-Battelle couldn’t eliminate Paden City’s lead such as they did with their first timeout of the game. The Wildcats would keep a lead of at least four points the rest of the game, with it occasionally going up to as many as 11 points.
The Cee-Bees would make a spectacular push at the end with Travis Holmes hitting consecutive three-point shots from as far as 40 feet away, but in the end the Wildcats were able to ride home happy with the 65-61 win.
“We got physically and mentally tough, which is something I’ve been looking forward to,” stated King.
Wright finished the game with a strong 24 points. Eighteen of those points came in the second half, with nine points marked in both the third and fourth quarters.
Thoburn and Cosper finished in double figures as well with 16 and 15 points respectively. Both had eight points in the first quarter to keep the Wildcats in the game.
Anderson finished with eight points and Chris Loy also scored a bucket.
Thoburn lead the team with seven rebounds and Anderson had a strong all-around game with eight assists, five rebounds and three steals.
Holmes finished with 27 points.