MORGANTOWN — Just three years ago, Cat Wassick rarely saw the floor for her seventh grade basketball team at St. Francis.
Basketball wasn’t her top sport — tennis stole that title early in life — but she wanted to try something new, especially since big sister Sophia was pretty good on the basketball court.
The Trojans had were low on numbers for the team so Cat decided she wanted to give it a go, but even then, she doubted she would make the team.
“There were some rough times for her, but she had such a great attitude,” said Sammy Lusk, Wassick’s middle school coach. “It was funny, she thought she was trying out but at the time, I had maybe 12-13 girls on the team and she came up to me and basically said she thought she was going to get cut.
“I had to inform her there were no cuts and she was stuck.”
For Lusk, who coached at St. Francis with his father, Nick, he was lucky that cuts were a rarity.
Wassick turned into a starter as an eight-grader and made significant improvements to her game. Now, she is a key contributor for the Morgantown High varsity squad as a sophomore guard.
It started to click once her seventh-grade season was over and Wassick played with a travel team. At first, she was going to simply practice, but once coaches saw the potential she had, she got regular minutes.
As her confidence grew, so did her ability, and when she returned for her eighth-grade season, Wassick “went from hardly playing to a starter who was voted team captain by her peers,” Lusk said.
Once the light bulb popped on, Wassick averaged over 20 points per game in her final year of middle school basketball, as well as the team’s best defender, according to Lusk. She knew she had a chance to make an impact at the high school level.
“I really enjoyed being with the team and playing with some of my best friends, which made me want to get better,” Wassick said. “I started working really hard at it with the goal of playing in high school.”
MHS coach Jason White has reaped the benefits of not only Wassick, but others who played at St. Francis with Wassick.
“I told Jason he was getting a good group from me that year — three girls that could help very quickly with Cat, Berit (Johnson) and Kaitlyn (Ammons),” Lusk said. “That’s a testament to the quality of people they are and their work ethic. That group of eighth-graders were my best leaders I had when I was at St. Francis.”
And she hasn’t forgotten about tennis by any stretch. Wassick won the girls’ No. 2 singles state championship as a freshman for the Mohigans tennis team. She believes there are parallels between the two sports that help her get better in both.
“Footwork is key in tennis and that helped carry through to basketball,” she said.
Wassick and the Mohigans will host Parkersburg South at 7:30 p.m. today. They will also host rival University at 7:30 p.m. Friday.