CAMERON - In becoming one of the best high school softball pitchers in the Ohio Valley and the state of West Virginia, Cameron senior Tara Paczewski has found a knack for putting the ball directly into the catcher's mitt.
Friday night she proved that her deadly aim is not limited to the diamond as she turned the basketball hoop into her own personal bulls-eye.
Paczewski drilled five 3-pointers, all coming at very opportune times, and classmates Taylor Whipkey and Lindsey Siburt did their parts with 15 rebounds and a 5 of 7 showing from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, respectively, as the Dragons overcame a slow start to post a 46-36 victory against Linsly at Cameron High School.
It was Coach Erica Hall's Cadets (2-5) who were in control early, jumping to a 6-0 lead as the Dragons did not record their initial field goal until the 1:27 mark.
However, Linsly was unable to put the Dragons away and Coach Joe Pettit's team got a big boost from a Siburt 3 with 10 seconds showing that cut the deficit to 12-7 after one.
Cameron had more turnovers (eight) than points in the quarter and hit just 2 of 13 tries from the field.
Down 16-7, Paczewski nailed a pair of treys, Whipkey added a basket and Siburt nailed her second 3 of the half as Cameron worked its way into an 18-16 advantage before heading to the half down 21-20.
A 6-0 run late in the third, keyed by a pair of Neely Benline baskets, had the Dragons leading 29-28 after three. The count was still 33-33 with 5:44 to go before Cameron's caught fire and went on a 9-0 tear to take command.
Cameron (5-4) finished on a 13-3 run to close things out.
''The girls have been working hard and we have been getting more and more back to the basics in practice,'' Pettit said. ''We have kind of started over, working on passing and trying to put the little things together, hoping that in the end it will lead to a big thing.
''But we were able to get some girls off the bench and get a lot of people involved and those are fun games to be a part of. Tara was in a zone, Taylor dominated the glass and is a natural leader and Lindsey hit the free throws when we needed them.
''We also got a big boost from Neely Benline who played big when we needed her to. Injuries have kept us down a little, and I think that early on we as coaches got a little ahead of ourselves and tried to do too much, but we are turning that around.''
Paczewski finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, Siburt had 11 points and six caroms and Whipkey added five points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Benline finished with eight points and nine rebounds.
Cameron, which had a large rebounding deficit the first time the two teams met in Wheeling, grabbed a 42-34 edge off the glass Friday, but turned the ball over 29 times to 24 for the Cadets.
''This was the same story that happened in our loss to Bellaire St. John,'' Hall said. ''At one point Cameron turned the ball over five straight times, but we did not score a single point off of it.
''As a coach you have to look at what the problem is and see what can be done. We had some open looks and good shots, but we just couldn't put them away early on.
''We rebounded well early, but then started giving them three and four shots in the second half, which they started making to put us away.''