BLACKSVILLE — Sloppy, messy, and downright ugly.
That describes the first three minutes of Monday’s second half for the Clay-Battelle boys’ basketball game. The Cee-Bees turned the ball over five times in their first six trips down the court and scored just one basketball to start the second half.
The good news is that the other 29 minutes against Paden City saw the Cee-Bees (1-0) downright dominate on their way to a 71-25 season-opening win.
“We wanted to come out the first three minutes (of the second half) and play like the game was 0-0,” C-B coach Josh Kisner said. “Sometimes that is hard to do with a game that starts like tonight’s did.”
It started with senior Kohlton St. Clair sinking four straight 3-pointers, as Clay-Battelle built a 14-2 lead.
“When he is really hot, we just let him shoot and feed him the ball,” sophomore Preston Luzader said.
The only thing the Cee-Bees might not let St. Clair do is attempt lay-ups and dunks.
St. Clair hit his first four shots, all from distance, before missing a lay-up and later a dunk. He finished with 17 points, all scored in the first half.
“Kohlton is actually one of the guys that finishes really well around the rim,” Kisner said. “He can jump out of the sky. Of course, he started out extremely hot. His legs got to him a little bit — we saw the missed dunk that he tried. Then his shots started coming up short. That’s where the other guys step in.”
Those other guys helped Clay-Battelle build a 49-14 halftime lead. The Cee-Bees allowed just four points in the second quarter and used runs of 14-0 and 16-0 to put the game out of reach.
Luzader was one of those “other guys” as he led all scorers with 22 points. He scored 13 points in the decisive second quarter and added six rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
“We have been working on a lot of shooting in practice,” Luzader said. “Kohlton is our main shooter, so we try to get him going so our inside game starts working.”
Inside is where Luzader and the other Cee-Bees big men can do their work.
Luzader handles the high post in the Clay-Battelle offense while Colby Barr and Matthew Gadd can work the low block. All three of them stand 6-foot-5 or taller.
“When Kohlton is hot, and teams start doubling him, we can kick it down low and then the high post is open,” Luzader said. “Then if they come out on me, I can drop it down to Colby.”
Barr finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds while Gadd chipped in four points with five rebounds and three steals. Oskar Lehtonen led Paden City (1-4) with 12 points.
While the victory was good, Kisner was already focused on Tuesday’s contest at Cameron.
“I think it is a good start,” Kisner said. “But there is always something we need to work on. There were a lot of positive, some of our younger guys got some good experience and hopefully got some nerves out of the way.”