CHARLESTON — The Clay-Battelle boys’ basketball team advanced to the semifinals of the Class A state tournament by defeating Webster County 60-52 inside the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center on Tuesday morning.
C-B junior Colby Barr led all scorers with 29 points on 9 of 14 shooting from the field, including 11 for 17 from the free throw line. Sophomore Preston Luzader contributed a double-double with 17 points and 16 rebounds for the No. 4 Cee-Bees on their way to an opening-round win. Senior Matthew Gadd also grabbed 10 rebounds.
“To start, we’re just happy to be moving on right now. Looking at the stat sheet, we probably should’ve lost,” C-B head coach Josh Kisner said after the game. “But these boys did what they’ve done all year and battled and had grit and wouldn’t be denied. We live to play another day.”
The Cee-Bees (20-6) advance to the state semifinals to face No. 1-seed James Monroe (23-2) at 1 p.m. Friday. James Monroe beat Cameron 74-32 on Tuesday.
Despite having a size advantage, with three starters checking in at 6-foot-6, the Cee-Bees allowed 25 offensive rebounds by the Highlanders and held just a 46-44 advantage on the boards. The second-chance opportunities allowed Webster to attempt 77 shots in the game, 29 more than the Cee-Bees.
Fortunately for C-B, its opponents only made 20 of the 77 attempts, including just 6 of 28 from the 3-point line.
The Highlanders were the ones to enjoy the lead in the first half, as they led 16-11 after the opening quarter. Barr picked up his second personal foul midway through the first, which forced him to miss the remainder of the half.
Webster County (18-8) used Barr’s absence to its advantage to hold a three-point lead at halftime, 24-21. C-B committed nine turnovers in the first half alone and shot just 1 for 6 from three.
Barr would re-enter the game to start the third quarter, however, and made an instant impact before going on to be the difference in the game.
Barr scored eight points in the third quarter before going on to score 15 in the fourth after just six in the first half, to help C-B outscore Webster by 11 in the second half.
“Once I came back in the game, I knew I needed to just put the ball in the hole,” Barr said of his objective entering the third after sitting an extended period of time. “I didn’t do my part in the first half with the foul trouble early on so I knew I had to come out firing early in the second half.”
Webster County standout junior Ray Triplett scored nine points on 4 of 20 shooting from the floor. C-B senior point guard Carson Shriver, who is signed to play football at Waynesburg, drew the assignment of guarding Triplett on defense, and says while it isn’t ever easy, he feels prepared for any matchup that presents itself.
“I’ve had to do that all year against our opponents,” Shriver said about his usual matchup against talented guards. “With Ray (Triplett), I am familiar with him from football so I knew what he was bringing to the table. I watched a lot of film and felt ready to go in the matchup.”
C-B held the Highlanders to just 26% from the field for the game on its way to a 60-52 win to begin the Class A state basketball tournament.
Clay-Battelle 60, Webster County 52
C-B 11 10 17 22 – 60
WCHS 16 8 12 16 – 52
C-B – Shriver 1 0-1 2; St. Clair 3 1-2 9; Barr 9 11-17 29; Luzader 7 3-4 17; Spears 1 0-0 3
WC – Triplett 4 1-2 9; Leichliter 5 0-0 15; Clevenger 4 0-0 8; Blankenship 3 1-3 7; McMillon 2 1-2 5; Moll 1 0-0 2; McCourt 1 3-4 6
3pt goals – Webster 6 (Leichliter 5, McCourt 1); C-B 3 (St. Clair 2, Spears 1).