Greater Beckley made the fans who headed for the parking lots at halftime regret the early exit, but Clay-Battelle found a way to stop the Crusaders when it mattered most to claim a 61-56 victory in the Class A quarterfinals Thursday night at the Charleston Civic Center.
Down 44-22 midway through the third quarter, GBC (19-7) looked as though it was going to go out like a lamb on the first day of spring. Instead, the Crusaders charged back in the blink of an eye.
A run-and-jump defense created some panic in the Cee-Bees, and turnovers piled up quickly. At the same time, Elisha Kidd began to heat up from the perimeter, sparked by the energy in the gym, and a 13-0 run to end the third quarter pulled GBC within single digits at 44-35, giving it reason to believe.
The quarter break did nothing to kill that momentum as Kidd opened the final frame with a 3-pointer from the corner.
Before it was all said and done, a 28-4 GBC run gave the Crusaders their first lead since 3-2, 50-48 with 5:54 to play, and left a lot of stunned spectators shaking their heads in disbelief.
“We just wanted to speed the game up, because that’s what we do,” said GBC head coach Dan Burd. “We made a nice run, and I give my kids a lot of credit.”
GBC extended its lead to 56-52 on a Joseph Cornett jumper with 3:06 to play, but that was the last bucket of the game for the Crusaders.
The Cee-Bees (21-5) held Kidd and company scoreless over the final 3 minutes, and Tristan Haught scored six points down the stretch, four at the foul line, to lead his team to a 61-56 victory.
Clay-Battelle will meet Wheeling Central in a Class A semifinal tonight at 7:15.
“We never gave up,” said Cee-Bee head coach Josh Kisner, both pleased and relieved. “We started out unstoppable, but they had a nice run. But our kids refused to quit and showed a lot of heart.”
GBC couldn’t have started any worse, taking quick shots on offense against the Cee-Bees zone that led to runouts on the other end. The result was an 18-5 deficit at the end of the first quarter as Jarrett Roush stroked through a pair of 3s for the Cee-Bees.
The second quarter wasn’t a lot better offensively, as GBC ended the first half just 6 for 27 from the field and 1 for 11 from 3-point range. Seven turnovers compared to just two assists sent the Crusaders into the locker room trailing 29-14.
“I thought their 2-3 defense bothered us a lot in the first half,” said Burd. “I don’t think we attacked it like we wanted to attack it. We got out of sync a little bit.”
Not much changed initially out of the break as the Cee-Bees played inside out to get easy points in the paint and then open 3s from the perimeter as a result. Down 22 points and staring at the possibility of a blowout, GBC flipped the switch.
Kidd hit a pair of 3s in the final minutes of the third quarter to provide a spark and then got a three-point play the old fashion way on the final possession to give the GBC cheering section a reason to make some noise for the first time all night.
“It felt good when I hit the first one, and my teammates just kept getting me the ball,” said Kidd. “I just kept knocking them down.”
Kidd finished with 24 points and eight rebounds, while Cornett came off the bench for nine big points and five rebounds.
Javonne Staunton-Bailey finished just 3 for 15 from the field, scoring eight points while dishing out eight assists and grabbing six boards. His defense and leadership helped his team make things interesting.
“I wasn’t having my best game, so I had to show the most heart,” said Staunton-Bailey. “I just got the team together and told them we had a shot. If I lose confidence, everybody loses confidence. So I had to keep working hard.
“It’s just hard to come out on the short end.”
Cannon Brummage was the key for the Cee-Bees, dominating the paint with 19 points and 13 boards. Jarret Hockenberry and Jarrett Roush scored 11 each, and Haught came off the bench for 12, including the game-winning basket.
With the ball in a tie game with 1:35 to play, Clay-Battelle looked as though it was going to hold for the final shot when Haught saw a crease in the defense. He blew past Brent Daniels and got to the rim for an uncontested layup that put his team back in front.
“Daniels came out and guarded me,” said Haught. “I knew I was quicker than him and could beat him off the dribble. I took him to the whole, and it worked out.”
GBC couldn’t answer — Kidd had a great look at a game-tying 3 on the final possession that missed from the corner — and the Cee-Bees celebrated the victory.
— E-mail: chuffman@
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Greater Beckley Christian (19-7)
Javonne Staunton-Bailey 3-15 0-2 8, Elisha Kidd 9-18 2-3 24, Isaiah Francis 2-9 1-2 5, Brent Daniels 2-11 1-3 5, Anthony Helton 0-0 0-0 0, Adam Cook 2-3 0-0 5, Joseph Cornett 3-5 3-4 9. Totals: 21-61 7-14 56.
Shane King 0-0 0-0 0, Cannon Brummage 8-13 3-3 19, Jarrett Hockenberry 4-9 2-2 11, Jarrett Roush 4-5 0-1 11, Zach Chisler 1-7 3-6 6, Tristan Haught 3-8 5-6 12, Tanner Bragg 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 21-44 13-18 61.
GBC 5 9 21 21 — 56
CB 18 11 15 17 — 61
3-point goals — GBC: 7 (Staunton-Bailey 2, Kidd 4, Cook ); CB: 6 (Hockenberry, Roush 3, Chisler, Haught). Fouled out — None.