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WHS seniors look to quiet critics

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By Paul Gable

The last time the Williamstown High School boys' basketball team won a game in the 32nd District Tournament was 2005, when the Demons defeated Owen County 63-49.

While the Demons have not experienced much success in the tournament since 1999, they were dealt a "winning hand" Sunday, Feb. 17, when Williamstown learned that its opponent in this year's tournament would be Walton-Verona, much to the pleasure of coach Stacey May. The two teams meet at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25, at Grant County High School. The winner will advance to play the winner of Grant County-Simon Kenton on Feb. 28, while the loser's season will come to an end.

Despite suffering two losses to Walton-Verona this season, May is confident that his team can defeat the Bearcats, saying the game presents favorable match-ups for the Demons.

"The opportunity against Walton-Verona is good for us, and we had success in terms of the luck of the draw. We match-up better with Walton-Verona. Walton-Verona comes and goes with their shooting. If they are in the zone, I don't know if anybody can beat them, and they can shoot as good as anyone in the state. We have to do our job defensively, and not give them any open looks," May said.

On Dec. 15, Walton-Verona defeated Williamstown 73-37 on the Demons' home court. On Feb. 8, the Bearcats defeated Williamstown 70-56 in a game that was marred by Walton-Verona's Mike Martin hitting Williamstown's Clyde Caldwell, sparking an incident that featured six players being ejected and serving one-game suspensions.

However, unlike those two games, a loss to the Bearcats on Feb. 25 and the Demons' season would be over. That is something that Williamstown's four seniors—Patrick Gatewood, Devin Hurley, Michael Walter and Clyde Caldwell—want to avoid.

"Drawing Walton-Verona was the best possible thing that could happen to us. We have proven that we can play with them, but you have to go out and win the game. We haven't gotten past the first round in a few years. If we can get a win and advance to the regional tournament, I could live with that and be happy," Gatewood said.

Hurley said a victory would go a long way in helping people forget about last year's 1-26 record.

"I don't think our seniors have been past the first round in a while, and to get a win would be a nice accomplishment after last year. Ever since Simon Kenton has been in our district, we've had to play them and now we get an opportunity to get a win against someone else," he said.

Walter also said a victory would help quiet detractors, who point at Williamstown's record as a reason why they cannot be competitive.

"All season long, people have doubted us and talked about our three wins. It would be real nice to get a win and prove everyone wrong. We can play with Walton-Verona, and we match-up well with them," Walter said.