‘Cats Defrock Bishops, 76-52
Paden City’s Ricky Wright drained four of his seven baskets in the first quarter, while teammate Malakai Anderson recorded another double-double en route to a convincing 76-52 thrashing of Bishop Donahue Jan. 14 at Bob Burton Gymnasium.
After taking a butt kicking from the Bishops in their first engagement, 62-46, Wildcats Wright and Anderson wreaked havoc from the start of this one. Anderson used his cat-like reflexes to give the Bishops fits, while Wright was torching the nets with his outside shooting to help the ‘Cats race out to a 19-12 advantage after one period of play.
In the second period, the Bishops’ defense held Wright to two three-point baskets, but the ‘Cats used teamwork and excellent ball movement to sustain the Bishop barrage and increased their advantage by one more point heading into the locker room with a 36-28 lead.
In the second half, Bishop Donahue took Wright out of the game by putting their big man to defend him, while double and triple teaming him at times. However, PCHS Head Coach Fred King told his sharpshooter that was going to happen and to stay focused and let his teammates go to work. And. . . they did. In the fourth period, the Wildcats got busy and scored 27 points in the last eight minutes of play.
Slicing and dicing to the bucket with ease, the ‘Cats’ junior floor general Anderson dished out assist after assist, while teammate Wes Cosper led the attack with eight of his 13 points, along with Josh Bennett’s 5-6 foul shots down the stretch to put the exclamation point on the game.
“We knew they were going to try to take Ricky out of the game, but we have a lot more weapons at our disposal and they came through,” said Coach Fred King. “Teams just can’t shut down one player anymore.”
Anderson added 14 points and 10 assists, while Ryan Thoburn and Cosper each netted 13 points to go along with Wright’s game-high 27 points. Bennett chipped off the bench with five points, while Ronnie Blatt and Zach Yost contributed three and one point, respectively.
The Wildcats shot 25-41 from the floor for 61 percent and cashed in on 18-27 attempts from the free throw line for 67 percent. The ‘Cats only had 20 rebounds, led by Cosper, Anderson, and Chris Loy with all three hauling in four boards.
In the assist department, Anderson handed out 10, while Cosper dished off seven.
The Wildcats had only 12 turnovers, while the dynamic duo of Cosper and Wright led in the take-away category with three and two thefts, respectively.
The Wildcats looked to be clicking on all cylinders heading into the second half of the season. They are playing good team ball, with contributions coming from all angles, starting with Anderson and Wright and trickling down to Thoburn, Cosper, and Blatt.
However, the play of Loy and Bennett has rejuvenated the team and has given them an inside threat and a couple guys that can pull down some boards, as well as some good old fashioned defense.
After getting redemption from their loss to Bishop Donahue in the first game, the ‘Cats will now look to get even with rival Valley, who defeated the ‘Cats earlier in the season. That contest tips off at 7 p.m., Jan. 22.