Clay Battelle, Local Sports, Sports, Trinity Christian

Warrior offense springs to life late in low-scoring win over Cee-Bees

MORGANTOWN — The Trinity Christian and Clay-Battelle girls basketball teams renewed their cross-county rivalry Tuesday night and it seemed early on as if the lids on the Trinity gym baskets had frozen in place over the holiday break. With a slow-pitch softball-esque score of 11-8 at halftime, the team that sprung to life offensively would take this one, and not surprisingly, the Warriors’ one-two punch of seniors Jenna Barnett and Ella Lynch took over in the second half to propel Trinity to a 39-26 home victory.  

The Warriors (6-4) came out cold from the field, but some defensive pressure helped to limit the Cee-Bees (4-6) to a single basket in the first quarter and five minutes of the second quarter as well. Clay-Battelle blocked at least a half-dozen shots, however, and cleaned up their defensive boards so effectively that Trinity scored just 11 points through the first two quarters and three minutes of the third.

Yet when some quick CB hands-on defense turned into three easy transition baskets late in the first half and another one early in the third quarter, the visitors had clawed their way to within a point at 11-10.  

That’s when Trinity coach Mike Baldy called some isolation plays for Barnett, and she ramped up her penetration game, scoring six baskets on driving lay-ups and earning three trips to the line in the second half to finish with a game-high 17.

“When we aren’t shooting it well – and every team goes through stretches like that – we need to find a way to score in other ways,” Baldy said. “We need to go up stronger at the rim and do a little bit better at looking for fast break opportunities. But I like the way we overcame adversity tonight, and we’re always happy to live with a win, of course.” 

And when Barnett wasn’t scoring, she was dishing to Lynch, who spotted up nicely to nail three key triples in the second half — one a dagger buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter — to stretch the Trinity advantage to eight points at 24-16. The Cee-Bees fought hard, but weren’t able to mount a final run down the stretch. 

“We certainly weren’t sharp on offense,” Cee-Bees coach David Joyce admitted with a wry smile. “When we didn’t rush things, we broke their half-court and three-quarter court traps, and it gave us some paint points and brought us back to within one. But sometimes we play too fast in our heads, and it leads to far too many turnovers (29, compared to Trinity’s 16). That’s a big reason why we only went to the line once all night.  

“But I told the girls at the half that we held them to 11 points, and that’s great defense,” he continued. “We pretty heavy-legged right now, in the middle of six games in eight days. Our season’s kind of in the dog days of winter right now, but we just have to get our rest and keep coming out ready to play hard and execute our game plan on both offense and defense.” 

The Warriors head to Florida for some sunny team bonding fun, where they will enjoy Walt Disney World and play two Orlando-area teams, while the Cee-Bees continue their heavy schedule Wednesday night, traveling to Tyler County to face South Harrison. 


Clay-Battelle      2    6     8   10 – 26 
Trinity                 7    4   13   15 – 39 
CLAY-BATTELLE (4-6) — Ally Hellyer 4 0-0 8; Laikyn Dalton 2 0-2 4; Kenley Statler 3 0-0 6; Breann Debolt 3 0-0 6; Raylee Hennen; 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 0-2 66.
TRINITY (6-4) — Jenna Barnett 7 3-5 17; Ella Lynch 5 0-0 14; Peyton Moore 0 2-4 2; Jillian Conn 1 1-2 3; Paige Hopkins 0 1-2 1;  Kaylin Kurilko 1 0-0 2. Totals 14 7-13 39.
3-Pt. Goals – Trinity 4 (Lynch 4).