BLACKSVILLE — Holidays are wonderful – enjoying time off, being with family and friends, plenty of good food and better company.
However, the day back after a holiday is often a struggling slog, especially if you play high school basketball, and Wednesday, the Clay-Battelle girls’ team came out of the gate at home like they’d watched ‘Elf’ a few too many times, found their legs to battle back in the third, but in the end ran out of egg nog in the fourth, falling to Tyler Consolidated, 46-38.
“We played pretty much the way you’d expect a team to play after being off for about two weeks,” CB coach David Joyce explained with a rueful smile. “They gave us a soft 1-3-1 trap on inbounds plays – the same thing we do to try to force mistakes – and we didn’t handle it well at all tonight. Anytime you’re making close to as many turnovers as points, you’re going to struggle offensively.”
The Cee-Bees (3-4) got off to a very slow and sloppy start offensively, committing a whopping 14 first-quarter turnovers and scoring just a single basket from the field, and it was only their hustling half-court defense that kept the score close at 11-5 after one.
While CB cut the giveaways to just five in the second quarter, their half-court offense remained stagnant, their transition game opportunities were scarce and only center Kenley Statler’s post presence (the senior made 7 foul shots in the first half) kept the Silver Knights (4-6) within reach, 21-11 at the break.
Finally, the Cee-Bees showed some life to begin the second half, as Laikyn Dalton (who finished with a team-high 11 points) scored a putback offensive glass bucket, stole a pass and found Reagan Darling alone for an uncontested lay-in, then buried a short jumper to cut the lead down to 21-17. But foul trouble and turnovers gave Tyler Consolidated the chance to stretch back out to an 8-point bulge after three, 27-19.
“Still, we had a nice little run in the second half,” Joyce continued. “Cut it to four, and had a chance to make a game of it, but we couldn’t convert our chances, and then things got away from us at the end.”
In the final eight minutes, Knights guard Braedon Wall got hot, scoring 11 of her game-high 16 on a big three-ball and several fastbreak lay-ups and foul shots, and the leg-weary Cee-Bees had no answer down the stretch.
“We ran out of gas, and that’s conditioning, and that’s on me,” Joyce said. “We hustled, especially on defense, and never quit, and we’re looking forward to these next three practices before our next game. We’ve got plenty of things to work on, and we still haven’t played to our potential.”
Clay-Battelle is on the road for three games over the next two weeks, returning home on January 17 against Tygarts Valley.
BY MARK SCHRAF
Tyler Consolidated 11 10 6 19 – 46
Clay-Battelle 5 6 8 7 – 28
TYLER CONSOLIDATED (4-6)
Ryland Henderson 4 0-4 9 Leah Loudin 0 1-2 1 Jules Lattea 1 3-5 5 Katie Grimm 4 0-1 8 Braedon Wall 5 5-10 16 Maleah Weber 1 0-0 2 Caitlyn Northcraft 1 1-2 3 Havannah Lemasters 0 2-2 2 Totals 16 12-26 46
Raylee Hennen 1 0-0 2 Reagan Darling 1 2-2 4 Laikyn Dalton 5 0-1 11 Elyse Moore 1 0-0 2 Kenley Statler 1 7-12 9 Totals 9 9-15 28
Three-pointers – TC 2 (Henderson, Wall), CB 1 (Dalton)