Clay-Battelle squanders 22-point lead before rallying late

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — No. 4 Clay Battelle gave up a 22-point lead in the second half only to mount a comeback of its own in the Class A quarterfinals.

The Cee-Bees finished the game scoring nine unanswered points while holding No. 5 Greater Beckley Christian scoreless over the final 2:49 in a 61-56 win.

“We came out unstoppable there,” Clay Battelle coach Josh Tisner said. “Then they took the lead and the boys didn’t quit. They played hard.”

Clay Battelle (21-5) was led by Cannon Brummage’s 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, but Tristain Haught was huge also—finishing with 12 points that included five in the the late surge, including a layup to put his team up three.

“(Brent) Daniels was guarding me and I knew I was quicker than him and could take him off the dribble,” Haught said. “I took him to the hole and it worked out.”

Jarrett Roush and Jarrett Hockenberry each scored 11 points for the Cee-Bees, making their first appearance in the state tournament since 1996, where they lost in the title game to Wheeling Central.

“We want to make history,” Hockenberry said.

Clay Battelle is no stranger to close games—four of its last five games have been decided by five points or less.

”When we got down, I was like, OK, we’ve been here before,” Brummage said. “We fought through all of those tight games, and we know we can finish.”

Leading 44-22 with 3:50 left in the third quarter, Clay Battelle seemed to be in control. But Elisha Kidd ignited Greater Beckley’s comeback by draining three 3-pointers. The Crusaders went up 56-52 with three minutes left.

“We were down 22 points, so I had to show the most heart,” said Javonne Staunton-Bailey. “I got the team together and told them we had to keep fighting. In all the basketball games I played I worked the hardest tonight. It just sucks to come up on the losing end.”

Kidd said of the comeback charge: “It just felt good when I shot the first one and my teammates kept getting me involved and I just kept knocking them down.”

Greater Beckley (19-7) was led by Kidd’s game-high 24 points including four 3-pointers. Staunton-Bailey filled the stat sheet with eight points, eight assists and six rebounds.

“Elisha really got started, and we got the ball in the paint and kicked it out as well as getting in transition,” Greater Beckley coach Dan Burd said. “Once we started shooting our 3s, it got us going.”

The Cee Bees advanced to face top-seeded Wheeling Central in the Class A semifinals on Friday at 7:15 p.m.

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