Wildcats Girls Basketball Season Ends
Earlier last week, Paden City hosted St. Mary’s in a regular season basketball game with the Blue Devil girls coming out on top by four points. On Feb. 17, before a modest crowd – and on a snow-covered day – the Wildcats made their into the Blue Devils’ gym with hopes of avenging the earlier loss. This time, in a Class A and Region 1, Section 2, quarterfinal game, St. Mary’s got the win with a final score of 77-31.
The Wildcats knew going in they were at a disadvantage as their point guard, Abbe Stackpole, was forced to sit out due to a concussion from the previous contest. What they didn’t expect was the foul calling they received, and the full court press St. Mary’s Coach Howie Meeks used when the game was already decided.
Paden City, with only seven players, quickly found themselves in trouble as the Blue Devils jumped out to a 20-3 first quarter lead. At first, it didn’t appear to be anything but missed opportunities, but the obvious soon took over. By halftime, the Wildcats were on the short end of a 36-13 score; however, the Blue Devils had shot 29 free throws and were in the double bonus since late in the first quarter; 21 of their first half points came from the free throw line. Otherwise, it would have been a close game. The Wildcats had only shot two free throws by halftime, and they came when a player was clobbered going to the bucket.
Playing with only seven players is a disadvantage by itself, but playing against seven – when you are lucky to have five on the floor – makes it much more difficult. At the half, the Wildcats had three players with three fouls and their top two junior starters with four. Within a minute into the third quarter, the Wildcats’ top player, Hannah Loy, was called for her fifth foul and had to go to the bench. She was joined later by another.
Skylar Fulks led the scoring for Paden City with 10 points, while Loy got five in before leaving the game early. Erin McIntrye also got five points, and Raven Fulks and Madison Knight each added four. Paige Leonard chipped in with three to end the scoring for the Wildcats. St. Mary’s made 26-34 free throws to Paden City’s 3-6. However, the bigger picture shows that the ‘Cats could have still been in the game even with the fouls going one way; they just didn’t have the bodies.
In this sports writer’s opinion, I’ve got to say this was a disgrace to high school officiating. It’s also disgraceful to get a team down to the point of embarrassment, and then kick ’em harder. I want to commend Paden City’s team and coaches for their good sportsmanship through it all. I could hear some displeasure from the fans but nothing too bad. One of the press guys sitting beside me said he had never seen anything like it. This guy was an ex-coach who won several state girls titles.
The Wildcats’ Alan Miller and Jamie Natali have done a great job working with this season’s team. I hope they come back next year, and I hope all the girls returning work on their game in the off-season. They really improved with each game, and Wildcat fans should be proud of them.