CHARLESTON, W.Va. – No. 5 Clay-Battelle gave the four-seeded Webster County Highlanders everything they could handle.
But in the end, a better night shooting and recent experience of playing on this court — especially in big moments — were likely the difference in the game.
Webster County, the still-defending Class A champions from 2019, has played in tight situations on this floor in this tournament before, while this group of Cee Bees didn’t have that background knowledge.
The Highlanders built up a nine-point led with less than four minutes to go in the fourth quarter, but had that lead cut to as little as two points with 2:23 to play.
Clay-Battelle didn’t score another point. Webster County held on.
The Highlanders are off to the Single-A semi-finals for the second tournament in a row, holding on to beat Clay-Battelle 48-42.
“These guys never quit,” Highlanders head coach, Michael Gray said. “Hats off to these guys for not quitting. They got a couple runs on us but we never let it get out of hand.”
Rye Gadd led the way for Gray’s group with 27 points and nine rebounds. He also hit three 3-pointers.
“(My) shot was falling. Offense was coming. And we just keep playing,” Gadd said afterwards.
Senior Gavin Moore led the way for Clay-Battelle with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Mojo Chisler, also playing in his final high school game, tallied 12 points and three blocks.
“Playing down here has always been the goal,” Chisler said. “My brother was actually on the last team that came down here. And, I mean, ending it this way really doesn’t dampen my career in any way. I had a great time this game. I had a great time all year. I appreciate my team. I feel good right now, I’m happy.”
Clay-Battelle led by five points in the early going, but never led after the first quarter.
Webster County, meanwhile, led by as many as eight in the first half, and as many as nine after halftime.
Webster County now advances to play to the top-seeded Man Hillbillies on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. in the Class A semi-finals.