Clay Battelle, Local Sports, Sports, Trinity Christian

Trinity prevails in cross-county battle against Clay-Battelle

MORGANTOWN — There’s no secret that the boys’ basketball teams at Trinity Christian and Clay-Battelle have big goals for the 2023-24 season.

After both teams reached the state tournament in Charleston last season, both are primed for another run.

On Thursday, the Class AA, No. 7 ranked Warriors (2-0), knocked off the Class A, No. 3 ranked Cee-Bees, 55-52 thanks to an opportunistic defense and an offense that showed just enough shooting to hold on for the victory.

“Our last game last year against Williamstown, we probably had the most turnovers in state tournament history,” Trinity coach Codey Horton said. “So, we knew that our defense was the biggest thing we wanted to focus on. Offensively, we can struggle a little bit at times, but defensively we are in your face, and we want ball pressure the entire time.”
That pressure mixed with a young group of guards for Clay-Battelle forced the Cee-Bees into 22 turnovers on the night and didn’t allow big men Colby Barr and Preston Luzader to get going early on the offensive end.

The Warriors pressured the CB guards and then fronted both Barr and Luzader early as they held the two returning all-staters to just 10 total points in the first half.

Trinity used that defense to build a 26-18 halftime lead and then the Warriors’ offense caught fire to begin the third quarter.

The Warriors went on a 10-2 run to grab a 36-20 lead with 5:46 left in the third quarter and appeared to be in control of the contest before both Barr and Luzader finally got to work.

“A lot of these guards, this is the first varsity minutes they have played,” Clay-Battelle head coach Josh Kisner said. “I started a sophomore and a junior who have never started or got significant minutes.”
However, the Cee-Bees’ offense found Barr and Luzader as they combined to score 24 points in the second half with Barr scoring 10 straight points during one stretch to cut the Trinity lead from 40-28 to 44-40 early in the fourth quarter.

Clay Battelle could get no closer than four until the final seconds of the game as the Warriors were able to sink three of their final six free throws and the Cee -Bees couldn’t get off a 3-pointer against the stifling Trinity defense.

“We want to come out and win these big games,” Trinity senior Carter Hartsock said after he led the Warriors with 17 points. “This is the type of game and Clay-Battelle is the type of team that prepares us for competition down the line. We want people to know who we are, and we want to be on the map.”
Chayce Adams added 11 points for the Warriors who were able to hit six 3-pointers in the contest and went 11-of-18 from the charity stripe.

Barr led the Cee-Bees with 22 points while Luzader added 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Cooper Payton scored 10. Clay-Battelle shot 50% from the field but attempted just 10 free throws and hit just four 3-pointers.

The Warriors continue a tough early-season schedule as they host Wheeling Central Catholic on Tuesday. Clay Battelle will host rival Cameron on Tuesday.


Trinity 55, Clay Battelle 52
CB 7 11 16 18 — 52
TCS 16 10 14 15 — 55
Morgan 1 0-0 3, Spears 1 0-0 3, White 0 0-2 0, Payton 4 0-0 10, Barr 11 0-2 22, Luzader 3 6-6 12. Totals: 20 6-10 52.
Lohman 4 0-2 8, Porta 2 2-2 7, Kniska 1 0-0 2, Hopkins 2 2-2 8, Adams 3 3-4 11, Hartsock 6 6-8 17, Steptoe 1 0-0 2. Totals: 19 11-18 55.
3-Pointers – CB: Morgan, Spears, Payton 2. TCS: Porta, Hopkins 2, Adams 2, Hartsock.