BLACKSVILLE — If you stick around any coach worth his or her salt long enough, you’re bound to hear one variation or another on a classic idiom: Practice makes perfect. Perhaps there is no better example than Clay-Battelle basketball.
Inclement weather took a toll on practice time in the last week for the Cee-Bees, and it showed as their offense floundered in a 70-51 loss to Madonna on Jan. 9, at Statler-Wilson Gymnasium.
“Dealing with the snow days and having too many days off in a row, coming in I knew our shooting was going to struggle,” Cee-Bees head coach Josh Kisner said. “And we did. Percentage wise, we didn’t hit any of our goals other than at the foul line.”
As with any trade, basketball requires repetition to stay on top of one’s game, and the lack of time on the hardwood showed. The Cee-Bees couldn’t establish a rhythm offensively, and lagged behind in their attempts to slow a high-intensity Madonna squad.
“It’d been a long weekend without practice, it’d been four or five days since we were last in the gym and shot around, and you could tell,” said senior Gunner Brummage, who paced Clay-Battelle with 17 points. “We had a tough time putting the ball in the hole, and our defense was out of shape, but that’s fixable.”
The rusty play of the Cee-Bees was evident from the top of the depth chart down, as sharpshooting sophomore Seth Casino managed just eight points, an 18-point drop-off from his last performance. Brummage, meanwhile, stayed in foul trouble throughout the evening, collecting his fifth and final in the final stages of the fourth quarter.
An unlikely spark was provided by freshman Gage Statler, as he poured three 3-pointers on the Madonna defense en route to a 12-point performance, helping keep the Cee-Bees within distance of their opponent early in the match-up.
“We have a lot of shooters, but obviously every night not everyone is going to be on,” Kisner said. “Tonight, I went to the bench, and I had Statler come in, and he played an excellent game in the first half. He’s a good basketball player and he could see more varsity time.”
As the rest of the Cee-Bees struggled from the field, Statler found that his shooting performance came easily.
“I just shot, I didn’t really think about it,” he said. “I’ve been waiting to get on varsity, trying to work my way up.”
Some players think that the team can learn a lesson in ball control and tempo from the tough loss.
“We need to slow it down, definitely,” Brummage said. “We just got so excited in that game that we had stupid turnovers and dumb passes. We need to slow the ball down when we’re not hitting, and use the block to our advantage.”
The Cee-Bees will look to rebound from their loss as they return to action Friday night. They will host local rival Trinity Christian, which comes to Blacksville 6-2 on the year and ranked sixth in the WVSSAC Class A AP poll.
It will be the second clash between the two squads this year. Trinity took home a 31-point victory in the first meeting. The game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
Brooke 61, University 50: WELLSBURG — Hope Bowman netted 21 points and Ashley Arca added 20 as the Bruins surged past the Hawks in the second half.
Ashten Boggs tallied 12 points and Layne Assif 11 for UHS, which held a 29-24 lead at halftime.
The Hawks return home Thursday to take on Parkersburg South.
Chloe Fox added 12 points for the Bruins.
Madonna 58, Trinity 53: WEIRTON — The Blue Dons ovecame big games from the Warriors’ Emily Saurborn (21 points) and Rachel Rosen (eight points, 12 rebounds, eight blocks) to eke out the win.
Reagan added 12 points for Trinity Christian, which plays host to Williamstown on Friday.
JV GIRLS’ BASKETBALL
University 37, Brooke 12: Isabella Bowers led the Hawks (5-4) with nine points.