Zone frustrates Paden City Wildcats

NEW MARTINSVILLE -Clay-Battelle’s zone defense resembled a jungle as Paden City tried to find what few gaps the Cees Bees provided during a Class A, Region, I, Section 2 championship game on Friday night.

Paden City never quite found a solution on how to attack and lost to Clay-Battelle, 79-48.

“We just tossed the ball around the zone until we threw it away,” Paden City coach Fred King said. “We didn’t look to the iron – we went east and west. You’ve got to go to the rack more.

“Clay-Battelle is a very long, athletic team. They caused us to do a lot of that.”

Paden City (12-12), which travels to Wheeling Central for next Wednesday’s regional, trailed 4-2 when Clay-Battelle put its foot down and scored the final 11 points of the first quarter and first two points of the second quarter for a 13-0 run.

A pair of buckets, including a 3-pointer, from Paden City’s Kennedy Cain curbed the momentum at 17-7 but Clay-Battelle buried the Wildcats with a 23-6 outburst in the final six minutes of the second quarter.

Jarret Hockenberry did the most damage for the Cee Bees, scoring 20 of his 22 points in the first half. After a respectable shooting performance in the first eight minutes, Clay-Battelle connected on 10-of-14 (71 percent) from the floor in the second period.

Making matters worse were the 10 first-half steals coughed up by Paden City. Hockenberry was responsible for creating half that total.

After falling behind 40-13 in the first half, Paden City found some solace at the start of the second half when Zach Heasley knocked down a 3-pointer for his only bucket of the night followed by a Luke Cooper free throw.

The four-point swing became a distant memory as Clay-Battelle closed out the final seven minutes of the period by outscoring the Wildcats, 23-7.

The unselfish play of the Cee Bees resulted in 20 assists, including four apiece from Zach Chisler and Jarrett Roush. Chisler also finished with a game-high 12 rebounds as Clay-Battelle won the battle of the boards, 39-23.

“We’re so long and athletic, it frustrates a lot of teams,” Clay-Battelle coach John Kisner said as his 19-5 Cee Bees now prepare for next Wednesday’s regional against Bishop Donahue. “When we get big and get our arms out, there are no passing lanes.”

The largest lead occurred with just under six minutes remaining in the game as Roush scored his only two points to increase the lead to 48 at 72-24.

With Clay-Battelle’s reserves now in charge, Cain took advantage by scoring 16 of his game-high 25 points in the final 5 1/2 minutes. The junior made a total of five 3-pointers, including four in the final period. As a team, Paden City tossed in 10 treys.

“Clay-Battelle brought their ‘A’ game,” King said. “They hit us hard, hit us early and that was it. They prepared well. They were the aggressor, and they took us out of everything we could do.”

Also scoring in double figures for Paden City was Hayden Hizer with 10 points. For Clay-Battelle, Tristan Haught came off the bench to make four 3-pointers as part of his 15-point effort, while fellow reserve Cody Neely pitched in 10 points.