MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Upsets are sweet, but an upset over a rival tastes a little better. Trinity Christian is eating well after defeating No. 6 Clay-Battelle, 82-65, on Wednesday, ending the Cee-Bees’ unbeaten streak at seven games to start the season.
The win adds to what looks to be a mid-season resurgence for the Warriors (3-6) after a five-game skid.
It’s the second in two days, as TCS defeated Madonna on Tuesday.
Wednesday’s win holds extra implications, as it will likely push the Cee-Bees (7-1) out of the Class A rankings.
The Warriors were led by unlikely hero sophomore guard/forward Carter Anderson with 31 points who was on fire from 3-point land, hitting all but one of his treys for an 8 of 9 performance.
His sharpshooting was pivotal, giving the Warriors the lead on his go-ahead 3-pointer in the second quarter — a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“Carter has struggled in a few games until last night [against Madonna],” TCS coach John Fowkes said. “He hit a couple of big shots in the 4th quarter and it carried over to tonight. We were watching him in warm-ups and the kid was making everything. He came into the huddle after and said, ‘Coach, I’ve got it going on tonight,’ and when you hear a kid say that you’ve got to get him the ball.”
The Warriors jumped ahead early off a 7-0 run in the first few minutes, but the Cee-Bees quickly took the lead after an explosive 9-0 run of their own. Going shot-for-shot with their rival, the Cee-Bees ended the first quarter up three, 21-18.
Picking up where they left off, Levi Carrico, Coltin Barr and Mojo Chisler kept C-B ahead in the second, but Anderson was there for two clutch treys – the final dropping as the go-ahead, putting Trinity ahead, 37-36. TCS finished out the half with a 6-2 run to enter halftime up five at 43-38.
“At times he took the ball and created things himself. He was out of his zone a little bit, but he was feeling everything tonight,” Fowkes said. “Hats off to him. If there’s a harder worker in the state on their shot, I’d like to see them.”
Tensions weren’t just high on the floor. In the middle of the third quarter, a Clay-Battelle fan began screaming across the court at a Trinity fan. The Warriors’ faithful was allegedly taunting another C-B fan, eliciting the response from the C-B fan. The C-B fan’s spicy language is what got him in the hot seat, and after sharing words with the head official, he was ejected from the game.
“I’ll eject the entire gymnasium if I have to,” the official said. “This is for the kids.”
After the incident had suspended play for a minute, the fourth quarter kicked off. What looked to be a resurgence by the Cee-Bees fell apart as fast as it began. A line of turnovers and forced shots falling flat gave Trinity room to push the lead to 18 points.
“This was one of those nights we couldn’t put the ball in the hole as well as we have all season,” C-B coach Josh Kisner said. “You’ll have nights like that. Other than that, I thought we could’ve boxed out and rebounded better down the stretch.”
Anderson’s 31 points were a game-high, and Fletcher Hartsock tossed in 25 to help lead Trinity. Seth Goins was the final Warrior in double digits with 16.
Clay-Battelle was paced by Barr with 27 points. Carrico and Chisler also reached double digits with 16 and 12 points. Big-time shooter Seth Casino, who helped the Cee-Bees in the season-debut win over Trinity, was held to just four points.
“It’s never going to be easy against Clay-Battelle. It showed tonight, that’s a scrappy team and a heck of a ball squad. Our crowds were electric, a lot of emotions. I love my kids, at the end of the day that’s all I’ve got to say. I’ll go to war for them.”