NEW MARTINSVILLE-For some reason Paden City has had good luck playing at Magnolia High School this year, winning there twice during the regular season and also capturing a sectional semifinal contest earlier this week.
Unfortunately for Coach Fred King and his Wildcats, Clay-Battelle barely let them get their warm-up jerseys off Friday night before the pummeling began.
Jarret Hockenberry scored 20 points, including 14 in the second quarter, and the Cee-Bees used good shooting and a stifling defensive effort to run away from Paden City early before putting the finishing touches on a 79-48 thumping in the West Virginia Class A, Region One, Section Two championship game.
While things are not totally lost for the 'Cats (12-12), they have been put in a precarious position in trying to punch their ticket to the state tournament in Charleston. Paden City's road to the capital city now goes through East Wheeling where they will meet the state's top-ranked small school team, Wheeling Central, Wednesday night.
Kings' Wildcats suffered a 65-51 setback to the Maroon Knights on Feb. 18, however, it was a game in which Paden City played well for three quarters and actually had a three-point lead at the half.
The Wildcats trailed from start to finish. Trailing 4-2 early, Clay-Battelle (19-5) scored the final 11 points of the period for a 15-2 lead after one. Down 10 at 17-7 early in the second, the Cee-Bees all but put things away with a 17-2 spurt, which included five baskets from Hockenberry, and a 34-9 count.
It was a 40-13 advantage at the half with Paden City showing a little life by scoring the first four points of the third. That all faded away quickly as Clay-Battelle put together another run, this time 19-3 for a 59-20 lead.
The biggest lead of the night came at 72-24 with 5:54 to play, which was exactly when the Cee-Bees pulled most of their starters.
"We had a great practice (Thursday) and I knew we were prepared and ready to play coming in here," Clay-Battelle coach Josh Kisner said. "Tuesday was a rough game for us, but we definitely came to play in this one.
"These kids have been playing together forever and they are just smart kids and great athletes. This is a real good team win for us (Friday).
"Hockenberry is tough to stop when he is attacking the rim and he did that. Defensively, our kids just have such long arms and it really frustrates team when the arms are out and there are no passing lanes.
"We got the ball inside, followed the game plan and everybody showed up on the same page for this one."
Junior Cannon Brummage added 18 points, including 10 in the third quarter, while Tristan Haught added 15 and Zach Chisler pulled down 10 rebounds. The Cee-Bees owned a huge 36-18 lead off the boards.
Kennedy Cain scored a game-high 25 points for Paden City while freshman Hayden Hizer had 10. Junior Zach Heasley, the Wildcats' second leading scorer, tallied just three points and was in foul trouble for much of the contest.
"For some reason we spent a lot of time throwing the ball east and west and not attacking the basket," King said. "That wasn't the plan, but they forced us to do it. They are very long and very athletic and they just shut us down.
"We looked pretty throwing the ball around to each other, until we threw it away, but we didn't attack the basket or their zone at all. Just did not even try to penetrate.
"I think we played very well the other night (in the semifinals) against a team they struggled with and it gave them a little respect for us. They knew they had to bring their "A" game, and they did.
"They hit us hard and early and it was a knock-out in the first round. We just never got off the deck."
While Clay-Battelle hit 33 of 59 shots for a 56 percent showing, Paden City was just 15 of 51 for 29 percent from the field.
The Cee-Bees will try and earn a berth to Charleston Wednesday night when they host Bishop Donahue.