Wildcats On The Prowl; Beat Hornets And St. John
Occasionally a team will go for the knockout punch prematurely only to miss and have its opponent come back and win the game.
That’s what happened to Paden City during their trip to Cameron on Jan. 6. The Wildcats held the lead after every quarter of play except for the most important fourth period.
Up 45-40 with less than three minutes to play, the environment favored the visitors as they held possession of the ball. Coach Fred King decided to try and kill the clock, but after seeing three-point shooting specialist Ricky Wright open, King called a play for him.
However Wright’s shot didn’t go through and the Dragons quickly thereafter caught fire, scoring the game’s final eight points.
Malakai Anderson and Ryan Thoburn both had opportunities to tie the game in the final seconds, but neither shot fell through.
“That was my fault,” a frustrated King said. “I called timeout and told the kids we were going to kill the clock and that was my intention. But I saw an opening with Ricky (Wright) and called a play, and the shot didn’t fall.
“We just seemed to make bad decisions after that. The bottom line is that we missed seven layups and that is 14 points. We are a small and timid team at times, but you have to make those shots to win.”
Paden City led 21-16 at the half and 35-32 going into the fourth quarter.
Wright finished with a team-high 17 points, with 14 coming in the second and third quarters. Thoburn added 15. Anderson scored nine while Wes Cosper and Chris Loy each scored two. Loy was particularly strong defensively, pulling down 11 rebounds.
Jacob Koontz for Cameron recorded a double-double with a game-high 24 points and 15 rebounds.
The Wildcats returned to their winning ways with a pair of games on Friday and Saturday against Hundred and Bellaire St. Johns.
While their previous three games were decided in the final seconds, both of these games had a clear winner.
On Friday, Hundred opened up the game with a quick lead at 16-9 after one quarter thanks to Zach Phillips’ 10 points, but the Wildcats’ defense quickly made its presence known as they shut him and the rest of the Hornets down from there on out.
At the same time, the offense picked up for Paden City with junior Malakai Anderson scoring 10 of his 18 points in the first half. He spearheaded the ‘Cats on a big second-quarter comeback that gave them the lead after outscoring the Hornets 18-6.
“We cleaned it up. We got into our sets and didn’t panic,” said King. “We got in some good sets and got started, then made the adjustments on defense that we needed. We were letting No. 33 (Phillips) kind of go when we doubled up on their big kid (Jesse Gorby), and as a result Phillips got loose. We went back to our standard defense and shut him down.”
Paden City also outscored their opponent in the final two quarters 13-10 and 21-14 for the 61-46 finish.
Overall, the Wildcats finished with a remarkable percentage from the floor at 61.9 percent. Of their 26 shots made from the field, 13 of those were assisted and 18 were within layup range.
Thoburn finished with 16 points and Cosper also reached double figures with 14. Wright was held in check for most of the night and finished with seven. Payton Hinkley and Ronnie Blatt both added three points.
“Hundred is a quality opponent,” complimented King. “They’ll win 14 or 15 games this year. We beat a quality opponent twice and I’m very happy about it.”
In their second game in as many days, the Wildcats welcomed the Irish of Bellaire St. Johns to Bob Burton Gymnasium on Saturday evening.
It wasn’t necessarily a warm welcome.
The Irish stayed in the game for the first eight minutes, trailing only by five. Once the second quarter started, the story was entirely different.
In perhaps their most dominating period of play in the season, Paden City outscored their visitors 26-3 in the next eight minutes that gave them a 43-15 lead going into the break.
Bellaire St. Johns wouldn’t eclipse Paden City’s total at the time for the rest of the game.
The Wildcats would outscore the Irish 13-6 in the third before Coach King called off the dogs and coasted to the 59-31 decision. The win improved their record to 6-3.
“What good is it going to do to rack up a bunch of points on a layup when its not going to happen the rest of the year?” King questioned. “And we need to get ready for Bishop Donahue.”
Their game against the Bishops was played Tuesday, but results were not available at press time.
If Paden City’s point total was a meal, then Ryan Thoburn provided the main course with a career-high 24 points with 18 coming in the first half.
His previous career-high was 19 points. His quick hands also swiped the ball away from the Irish four times, which eventually would turn into points on the scoreboard.
He was aided by Ricky Wright with 15 points and Wes Cosper with 12 points. Cosper added seven rebounds and three steals while Wright recorded five caroms and two steals.
Ronnie Blatt, Malakai Anderson, Josh Bennett, and Taylor Still all added two points for the ‘Cats. Payton Hinkley’s short time in the game also proved to be troublesome for the Irish as he blocked three shots in the final minutes.
The Wildcats next contest will be against Beallsville Jan. 16 at the Blue Devils’ court.