“From My View” for December 2
In continuing with some of the best high school basketball games the past few years, I’ve come up with a couple Paden City classics. The Wildcats had several heart-stopping ball games in 2015, but none as thrilling as the home loss against Wheeling Central, which came on a last second heave in a jam-packed Bob Burton Gymnasium. They also lost a 5-point Boys’ Basketball Classic inside the Charleston Civic Center the day before against a powerful Man Hillbillies ball club.
The talented Wildcats club included the likes of Kennedy Cain, Zach Heasley, Hayden Hizer, and Luke Cooper along with Craig Allen and Brandon Cross. This was one of the Wildcats best clubs in years, and many felt they had what it took to nake a run towards the state title. However, they had their hands full that season playing against much bigger schools including the Central club which included WVU recruit Chase Harler. Thes two Jim-Dandy back-to-back game were thrilling to watch that season.
Against Central, the Wildcats were up one point as time was running out and the Maroon Knights had to inbound the ball from the far end of the court, and would need to throw-up a prayer to win. Central threw the ball in and the receiver dribbled a few steps, and let it fly, it found the mark and Central beat Paden City 50-48.
The stunned Paden City Wildcats took a 15-9 lead after the opening quarter, and held a 29-28 lead at the break. The ‘Cats clung to a 42-39 lead heading into the final period of play.
Paden City held the lead from the start and never trailed until early in the fourth frame when they fell behind 50-48. However, it didn’t take long for the Wildcats to get it back when Zach Heasley drained one of his four baskets from beyond the arc, recapturing the advantage until the end.
The ‘Cats’ junior center Luke Cooper pulled down six caroms and tallied a game-high 26 points, including one bucket from beyond the arc to pace the Wildcat attack. Heasley played a great floor game and knocked in 17 points. Kennedy Cain, the ‘Cats’ top scorer, was held to just seven points, but he pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds and blocked three shots.
In addition, Hayden Hizer played his usual tight defense, had four steals and sank 4-4 charity tosses. Brandon Cross grabbed six rebounds and netted a triple, while Craig Allen drained a deuce, and added three assists.
“That was a tough loss for this team, we beat some good teams that year including Magnolia on their home floor. This would have been one of the all-time great victories for us, but things don’t also turn out the way they should, you learn lessons from games like that, and often they make you better people,” said Coach King. “I wouldn’t trade this team for any in the valley, they are coachable and give it 100 percent everytime they take the floor.”
Man 79, Paden City 74
The Man Hillbillies outscored the Paden City Wildcats 28-19 in the third period and held off a 28-19 fourth-quarter rally to capture a 79-74 victory in the Big House Boys’ Basketball Classic inside the Charleston Civic Center Feb. 9.
The Wildcats jumped out to an 18-17 lead, only to fall behind 37-33 at the half. The Hillbillies put it all together in the third to spoil a 28-19 run by Paden City in the final period to gain the nod.
Kennedy Cain and Luke Cooper each recorded 21 points, with Cooper earning a double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Hayden Hizer dropped in 17 markers and dished out five assists, while Zach Heasley tallied seven markers, and had 11 rebounds.
In addition, Brandon Cross sank a pair of deuces and a free throw, while Logan Carroll netted a deuce and Craig Allen ended all the Wildcat scoring with a free throw.
“That was a heck of a ball-game, “ said Paden City Coach Fred King. “We played hard and nearly came back to get the win, but give Man credit, they are a good basketball team, well coached , and matched up well with our size. We don’t have anything to be ashamed of, we played well.”