Paden City Loaded And Ready To Make Noise
In his 14th season, Paden City Head Coach Fred King returns the same lineup he ended with last season, plus two. Returning to the varsity are starters 6’7 senior Kennedy Cain, 6’4 senior Zach Heasley, 6’4 junior Luke Cooper, 6’1 senior Craig Allen, and 5’8 point guard Hayden Hizer. The team will bring a new power to the mix in Class-A boys’ basketball.
The Wildcats finished the 2013-14 season with its third straight H.I.T. runnerup. Paden City has filled its schedule with quality teams such as the Magnolia Blue Eagles, Williamstown, Wheeling Central, Bishop Donahue, Monroe Central, Linsly, as well as a matchup with Man inside the Charleston Civic Center Feb. 9.
With the entire starting lineup intact, the Wildcats should be a handful from the get-go. “We should be pretty good, but so is everybody else,” stated King. “We strengthened our schedule a bit this season. We could start the season 0-5, but still have a pretty good team. To be the best, you must play the best and we are not shying away from anyone.”
The Wildcats open the season with Valley in the Bob and Sharon Burton Christmas Classic Dec. 12-13. They will tangle with teams like Williamstown, Bishop Donahue, Magnolia, and Beallsville before playing in the Division I H.I.T. first round. In years past, PCHS played in Division II. However, this year they have elected to move up to Division I.
Cain and Heasley look to be the main scorers on the team, but don’t count out Cooper, Hizer, and Allen to produce in double figures, as well. This season, the Wildcats will have a bench with which to work. Besides returning letterman Deven Price and Aaron Heasley, King will also have available 5’11 Brandon Cross and 6’2 Logan Carroll to throw into the mix.
Over the summer, Cain played basketball all over the country trying to improve his game. He looks to be in mid-season form already and is ready to showcase his skills against some top-notch ball clubs. If teams focus on stopping Cain, the ‘Cats have Zach Heasley, who can light up the scoreboard. At 6’4, most teams don’t have the personnel to stop two big boys. Then there is the 6’4 Cooper who can also shoot from the outside and take it to the hole. Teams can’t stop all three.
Defensively, when you put all three with their arms out wide, it will be almost impossible for teams to take it inside. And, if a team can’t knock it down from the outside on its first try, it will be pretty darn hard to get a rebound with those guys defending.
Last season, Paden City didn’t have a bench that could handle the center or forward positions. But this season, in comes Cross or Carroll. They each know the system. They have both played under King in the past. Cross was a starter inside a few few years past, while Carroll, at 6’2, is ready to let the chips fall where they may.
But, let’s not forget about Hizer, Allen, Price, and Aaron Heasley. As a freshman, Hizer learned quite a bit as the conductor of this well-oiled machine, while Allen can do it all, including taking on the opposing team’s best offensive scorer.
This season, the younger Heasley, Aaron, has grown a couple more inches and, like his brother Zach, can shoot the rock from anywhere on the court.
“I haven’t seen a shot that Aaron doesn’t like, And when left open, he can light it up,” said King.
Price is another guard that King just raves about. “Deven has one speed and that’s full throttle speed all the time. If we can bring him down a few miles per hour and not full throttle all the time, you will see a guy that can be very dangerous,” added King.
“Craig is a smart boy that gives everything he’s got and more. He works hard and has knocked down some shots for us when we really needed them,” King observed.
We could go on and on about the dynamic duo of Cain and Heasley, in this story, you will just need to go out and watch these two guys compete.
You can see them, along with the rest of the Paden City Wildcats, on Dec. 12 against the Valley Lumberjacks at 7:30 p.m. in the Bob and Sharon Burton Christmas Classic.