Clay Battelle, Local Sports, Sports

Colby Barr named 1st-team all-state after C-B’s historic season

Luzader named to second team, Gadd and St. Clair honorable mention

It was a historic season for the Clay-Battelle boys’ basketball team as the Cee-Bees reached the state semifinal for just the third time in school history.

Accordingly, C-B was well represented on the Class A all-state team, with junior Colby Barr earning first-team accolades, sophomore Preston Luzader being names to the second team and seniors Matthew Gadd and Kohlton St. Clair both being names all-state honorable mention.

Barr led the team with 17.6 points per game and scored 29 in C-B’s state quarterfinal win over Webster County. Both he and Luzader averaged a double-double on the season with Barr also pulling down 10.3 boards per contest and Luzader averaging 14.8 and 10.7.
A season of dominance on the basketball court ended in a dominating performance on the all-state team.

After running roughshod through the competition all season and at the Class A state tournament – winning by an average of 34 point per game in Charleston – James Monroe placed three players on the Class A all-state team released Tuesday by the West Virginia Sports Writer’s Association, including captain Eli Allen.

It is Allen’s third appearance on the all-state first team, his second year as captain of the team.

He is joined by senior teammates Josh Burks and Collin Fox.

The only other Class A team in state history that had three players make first-team all-state was Athens in 1959, when Warren Young, Roger Graham and Frank Albis – the answer to a trivia question as the first person to score a basket in Cassell Coliseum at Virginia Tech – were all tabbed.

The last team to have three first team all-stater was Woodrow Wilson in 1993 when Ryan Culicerto, Shea Fleenor and Anthony Scruggs were selected to the Class AAA team. South Charleston also had three in 1984. The 2007 Huntington team with O.J. Mayo and Patrick Patterson, had four players on the Class AAA first team, the most ever.

James Monroe’s version of the Big Three certainly earned elite status in Class A, ushering in a span that saw the team go 53-2 the last two seasons during back-to-back state championship runs and this year won 22 games by double figures. The two losses were to Class AAA power Shady Spring (by three) and Class AAAA Woodrow Wilson (by two).

“They are the cornerstones,” coach Matt Sauvage said of his Big Three. “All three were starters as freshman and, quite honestly, they took their lumps. We played Shady Spring, Bluefield, those caliber teams, and it was tough on them as freshmen. But they took that and built on it, and they have been the main part of what we’ve been building here. Those three were there at the beginning, and I’m proud of them and I’m honored to have coach them.”
While the three have been cornerstones for the program’s accent to Class A supremacy, Allen was the lynchpin. As leader of the Mavericks Big Three, Allen led the Mavericks in the big three categories, scoring (21.4 points per game), rebounds (7.4) and assists (8.8).

Allen shot 54 percent from the field (215-400), 41 percent from 3 (52-126) and 76 percent from the line 97-128). He had six triple doubles.

“He’s a once in a generation-type player,” Sauvage said. “I was blessed to have coached Eli. He’s an outstanding player. I’m biased but I think he’s the best player in the state. Is there a better shooter in the state. Probably. Is there a better passer in the state. Probably not. Is there a better rebounder in the state? Probably. Is there a better defender in the state? Probably not. IS there a better overall player? No.”
Allen had 579 points, 201 rebounds and 237 assists this season for the 25-2 Mavericks and finished his career with 1,653 points 735 assists and had the top 33 games in James Monroe history (1994).

Collin Fox finished the year averaging 15.6 points, five rebounds and a team best 3.5 steals. He set the Class A state tournament record with 10 steals.

He had 55 3s and twice, when Allen had fouled out of a game – at Allegheny, Va. and at Bluefield, two of three regular-season single-digit victories for the Mavericks this season – Fox took over and carried the team.

“From when he came in as a ninth grader he just didn’t grow physically and, in his skill set, but he also has a high basketball IQ,” Sauvage said. “It’s been fun watching his game grow the way it has. We always knew he had knowledge of the game. But he became a complete player.”
Burks is considered a premier defender but also averaged 12.8 points and had a team best 66 3s and shot 42 percent from 3.
“Josh took the defensive side as a challenge,” Sauvage said. “He always wanted to know who the other team’s main scorer was and he’d want to take that assignment. Not that he couldn’t score. When we lost Shad (Sauvage, the coach’s son who had 103 3s last year before graduating) he went from 30 3s to 66 and that was huge for us.”
Other members of the first team include Tyler Consolidated’s 5-foot-9 senior Connor Bailey who averaged 11.6 points per game, Trevan Bonner, a 5-foot-11 sophomore from Class A runner-up Tucker County (15.6), Tug Valley’s 6-1 sophomore Joey Gollihue (17.1), and East Hardy’s 5-8 junior J.W. Teets (18.1).

Sawyer Van Matre of Wahama was captain of the second team, which included Tucker County’s Ashton Lycliter, Huntington St. Joseph’s Caden Ehirim, Cameron’s Cole Burkett, Tug Valley’s Parker Davis, Greater Beckley’s John Rose and Pendleton County’s Clayton Kisamore.

All-State honorees can obtain state-shaped, wood plaques with name, school, year and honor at or


Eli Allen, James Monroe (Captain), Sr. 6-4, 21.2
Collin Fox, James Monroe, Sr. 6-0, 15.6
Trevan Bonner, Tucker County, Soph. 5-11, 13.6
Connor Bailey, Tyler Consolidated, Sr. 5-9, 11.6
Colby Barr, Clay Battelle, Jr., 17.6
Joey Gollihue, Tug Valley, Soph. 6-1, 17.1
JW Teets East Hardy, Jr. 5-8, 18.1
Josh Burks, James Monroe, Sr. 6-3, 12.8

Second Team
Sawyer Van Matre, Wahama (Captain), Jr. 6-3, 16.7
Preston Luzader, Clay-Battelle, Soph. 6-6, 14.8
Ashton Lycliter, Tucker County, Jr. 6-4, 7.2
Caden Ehirim, St. Joe, Sr. 6-4,
Cole Burkett, Cameron, Sr. 6-0, 17.1
Parker Davis, Tug Valley, Sr. 6-3, 16.9
John Rose, Greater Beckley, Sr. 5-11, 26.5
Clayton Kisamore, Pendleton County, Sr. 6-3, 18.0

Honorable mention
Jacob Beachler, Pendleton County; Landon Bennett, Calhoun; Dale Boone, Greenbrier West; Shaun Booth, Van; Riley Clevenger, Webster County; Ashton Davis, Tug Valley; Gavin Derby, Valley-Wetzel; Santo Dobruska, Madonna; Dillon Dunz, Pocahontas County; Matthew Gadd, Clay-Battelle; Ethan Gray, Wahama; Lance Hartley, Cameron; Ashton Haslacker, East Hardy; Brandon Hileman, Doddridge County; Michael Kanode, Greenbrier West; Anthony Mascio, Madonna; Brayden McClung, Greenbrier West; Ethan McGee, Tygarts Valley; Aiden Miller, Richwood; Levi Morris, Calhoun County; Josh Proffitt, River View; Ethan Rosenua, Tucker County; Colt Sandy, Hundred; Brycen Sawyers, Meadow Bridge; A.J. Skeens, Sherman; Kohlton St. Clair, Clay-Battelle; Brady Strode, Tyler Consolidated; Rayden Triplett, Webster County; Parker Watts, Tolsia; Noah White, Montcalm.