MORGANTOWN — The Class A No. 9 Trinity Christian School girls’ basketball team hosted cross-county rival Clay-Battelle High on Friday evening, and while the senior-loaded Warriors handled the young Cee-Bees with relative ease earlier in the season by a score of 60-36, it was a different result the second time around.
Even though Trinity pulled away in the second half for a 59-51 win, the Cee-Bees gave Trinity fits at times, especially in the second quarter.
Both teams started slowly on offense, especially C-B (10-10), which began the contest with a whopping six straight turnovers. But Trinity (14-7) turned it over three times early as well, and it wasn’t until midway through the second quarter that the offenses started heating up.
Trinity’s Paige Dixon made three straight 3-pointers and Clay-Battelle’s Autumn Stewart made four baskets during the second quarter.
After trailing by double digits, Stewart sparked a fierce comeback with four straight baskets to take a 1-point lead until Dixon completed a rare four-point play to help restore the Trinity lead at the half by a score of 35-26.
The Warriors started the second halfon an 8-0 run before Clay-Battelle guard Rylee Burnette scored all 12 of her team’s points in the quarter to keep the game within reach at 50-38 after three, but the relentless trap and 3/4 court pressure by Trinity produced several transition baskets.
The Warriors lost standout senior guard Reagan Sharp to an injury at the start of the final quarter, and struggled from the field as well down the stretch, but still managed to maintain their double-digit lead with their outstanding defense until the final 15 seconds, holding on to secure the win.
“I was pleased with how we kept our defensive poise after Reagan went out,” Trinity coach Mike Baldy said after the game. “We took the air out of the ball a little with about four minutes to go, and the girls took care of our possessions very well.
“We knew that Coach Joyce would have his team ready to go,” Baldy continued, “and with two very good players in Rylee [Burnette] and Alivia [Ammons], they gave us all we could handle tonight, and we’re happy to get out with the W.”
For Joyce, he still sees potential in the finer points of varsity basketball for his young team.
“We have turnover issues at times,” he admitted, “and our court awareness needs to improve, but that will come with experience. We liked our heart, our tenacity and how we stayed with it until the end. Our kids are still up, and after how we played against a Trinity team that has all the pieces, I know we’ll stay up.”