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Imposing frontcourt duo Colby Barr and Preston Luzader has Cee-Bees anticipating return journey to Charleston

BLACKSVILLE — Final 12 months, the Clay-Battelle boys’ basketball workforce had desires as massive as its large beginning frontcourt. Goals that led to a stellar 21-6 report and a WVSSAC state match semifinal look.

Though the Cee-Bees dropped a tricky determination to eventual champs James Monroe, the expertise has solely whetted the returning gamers’ urge for food to get again, and maybe go additional. 

And whereas many groups that make lengthy, magical post-season runs in Charleston, particularly on the Class A stage, discover the expertise and expertise nicely a bit dry the next season, veteran head coach Josh Kisner feels his workforce has an opportunity to dream simply as massive as final 12 months, due to his returning all-state bigs, senior Colby Barr and junior Preston Luzader. 

“Any time you can begin the 12 months with a pair of lengthy, proficient, skilled frontcourt gamers, you’ve received an opportunity to be good,” he smiled. “And each Colby and Preston took it upon themselves to work further arduous on their video games – extending their vary, engaged on ball-handling, creating offensive abilities going through the basket and attacking from the wing. 

“This may assist us offensively,” he defined, “as a result of we misplaced a load of expertise and factors from our graduated backcourt (level guard Carson Shriver and capturing guard Kohlton St. Clair). We’ve received a pair of sophomore guards, Cooper Payton and Braden Ponceroff, who’re very athletic and might shoot as nicely, however they’ll must develop up rapidly for us to get the place we need to go this 12 months.” 

For senior Barr, the effort and time he pours into engaged on his recreation is at all times value it, each for his workforce and for himself. 

“I like to battle for factors within the paint, for positive,” he grinned, “however I additionally know that shedding Kohlton and Carson implies that we would want some assist bringing the ball up and breaking the press. And Kohlton hit a ton of three-pointers (99 final seaosn), so we might must get extra exterior capturing from totally different gamers. And despite the fact that I’m fairly tall for West Virginia Class A, I’ve at all times dreamed of taking part in on the subsequent stage, and meaning creating extra backcourt abilities. It simply takes time and persistence and targeted effort, a decided mindset, and I really feel able to tackle these further roles.” 

Luzader concurs 100%. 

“Ever since I’ve performed AAU ball, my coaches have at all times jogged my memory that I received’t at all times be the largest man on the court docket,” he defined. “So I’ve at all times labored in excessive submit offenses, and been a stretch ahead, and Colby and I’ve performed a lot collectively, we all know we are able to play a two-man recreation and search for one another wherever. Groups will be unable to match up towards each of us within the half-court, so I believe they’ll attempt to press us loads, and that’s the place we can assist break the press and convey the ball up. That might be massive for us this season.” 

Barr additionally is aware of that assured guard play might be key. 

“These guys can get it achieved,” he insisted, “however it’s going to take a while for them to get comfy and calm and relaxed. They’re going to make errors – all people does – so the important thing might be to overlook it and transfer on, play arduous on protection, and do higher subsequent journey. And we’re attempting to get them to go forward and shoot it. Typically a missed shot makes for a simple offensive rebound and stick-back, so don’t fear about something however taking good photographs throughout the offense. In the event that they try this, and hold their heads up, they’ll be superb.” 

“We’ve the identical targets yearly,” Luzader mentioned. “We need to get to States. And this 12 months, we need to get to the title recreation, and we need to win it. We’ve guards that may play and shoot, we have now bigs with expertise. We’ve every part we have to go far, and we are able to’t wait to get after it.” 

The Cee-Bees begin their season with two rivalry video games, starting on the highway subsequent Thursday, Dec. 7 at Trinity Christian in Morgantown at 7:30 p.m., then internet hosting Cameron the next Tuesday, Dec. 12, with tip-off scheduled for six p.m.  

BY MARK SCHRAF