BLACKSVILLE - This was an opportunity Cannon Brummage was not going to miss.
To the exasperated roars of Clay-Battelle head coach Josh Kisner and the sellout crowd at the Wilson Statler Gymnasium on Wednesday night, the junior forward passed up a layup with just under a minute to play in overtime of the Class A Region I boys' basketball final.
The Cee-Bees had been gridlocked at 41 with Bishop Donahue since the end of regulation, but Brummage kicked the ball back out, and the Cee-Bees called a timeout and reset their offense with 55.4 seconds left.
A couple swing passes later, Brummage found the ball in his hands again.
This time, he drove into the middle of the lane and banked in what would stand as the game winner with 33 seconds to play.
"Coach gave me a little flack, and he's like, 'You gotta shoot that,' " Brummage said. "And I'm like, 'There's a minute left, coach, we can get a better shot.' And I just saw I had the ball, and I was like, 'I can get this guy.' Then I went right around him and laid it in."
The Bishops called a timeout with 28 seconds remaining and held the ball for the last shot, but a 3-point attempt by Jesse Padlow was off the mark and Jarret Hockenberry came up with the rebound for Clay-Battelle.
He held on, and the Cee-Bees grasped a 43-41 victory, and a berth in the state tournament for the first time since 1996.
"I was speechless," Brummage said. "I made the last basket, and I'm in shock. Fans going crazy, I gotta give a shout out to the fans, they were amazing tonight, and it was incredible."
Brummage was out with a concussion when Bishop Donahue (17-8) dominated Clay-Battelle, 71-54, in the Undo's Tournament, on Dec. 28.
He led all scorers with 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and tossed three assists Wednesday, as the Cee-Bees (20-5) extended their winning streak to 12 games.
They will head south for the state tournament, which begins Wednesday, at the Charleston Civic Center.
"He really stepped up tonight," Kisner said. "They all wanted it tonight, and that was it. I told them before the game started, no matter what, to leave it all on the floor. They left it on the floor and we get one more game at least."
It was evident the stakes and nerves were high, as both teams had four turnovers apiece in the opening minutes. The Bishops sneaked out to a 12-7 lead by the end of the first quarter, but the Cee-Bees settled in and became patient on offense to remain within seven points.
C-B set the tone with its defense, holding standout Bishop Donahue center Chaice Truex to four points in the first half.
Brummage, Hockenberry (8 points, 3 steals) and Zach Chisler (11 points, 2 blocks) combined to defend Truex under the basket in the Cee-Bees' 2-3 zone, with flashes of man coverage.
"Truex, he's a great player, he's only a junior so he is going to be tough next year," Brummage said. "But none of us could've done it alone, neither Zach or I or Hockenberry down low. Gotta give credit to our guards for dropping so much. It was just a great team effort."
A 3 by Tristan Haught, who tallied 10 points, capped an 8-0 run to give C-B its first lead, 21-20, with 1:30 to play in the half.
The Cee-Bees took a 21-20 lead into halftime, when C-B principal David Cottrell and athletic director Dave Joyce honored former head coach Frank Skubis, who took the Cee-Bees to that 1996 state championship game among his 351 wins from 1979-2011.
Truex, who pulled down nine rebounds, got loose in the second half to drain the rest of his team-leading 10 points and the Bishops regained a 32-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Cee-Bees played catch-up, tying the game at 34, then 37, before two free throws by Haught gave them a 39-37 lead with 2:39 to play.
Josh Miller responded with a basket for Bishop Donahue, but Haught hit two more free throws, this time with 11 seconds remaining.
Bishop Donahue called a timeout with 8.8 seconds left, trailing, 41-39, and Miller, who scored six points in the second half, hit a layup to send the game to overtime with one second left.
"Very good second-half performance for him," Bishops head coach Tom Wise said. "I was very happy with Josh. He's had a tough year with injuries and finally coming back and getting healthy a little bit. I thought our kids played hard though, I can't fault the effort at all."
The overtime was a defensive stalemate, with C-B dictating a slow pace until Brummage's basket.
"This game just came down to one shot, that's all it came down to," Wise said. "We had what we thought was our best defensive team on the floor at the end so they couldn't hold it any longer, and we just got beat to the bucket and we pulled something out of the hat to go into overtime, we just couldn't do it again."