Charleston Catholic pulls away from Buffalo
CHARLESTON -- Charleston Catholic outscored Buffalo 13-2 over the final five minutes of the third period and that burst propelled the Irish to a 61-48 victory in the opening round of the West Virginia High School Basketball Tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.
The two Class A teams met at 9:30 a.m., the first game in the 100th annual state tournament. The defending champion Irish played at a deliberate pace and coach Bill McClanahan felt comfortable with the 19-19 tie at intermission.
"Credit Buffalo. I mean that sincerely," McClanahan said. "They came out focused. We understood what they wanted to accomplish. We had that nervous energy. I was a little more comfortable after the second quarter. When we got that cushion, I felt we could get over the hump."
No. 3 seed Charleston Catholic (23-3) will meet No. 7 Wheeling Central in the semifinal round on Friday at 9:30 a.m. Wheeling Central (14-12) ousted No. 2 Magnolia, 58-35, later Wednesday.
McClanahan said the Irish doesn't have the depth it's had in the past and that's way the pace went down.
"We played conservative in the first half," McClanahan said. "We had to keep our energy. Full court for 32 minutes, we didn't have enough to do that. In the third quarter we had that energy surge. We were able to pick up the tempo."
Charleston Catholic also threw a full-court press on the Bison at the start of the third period.
"That was the coach's decision," McClanahan said. "It allowed us to keep our legs. Our shot selection had to be better. Attack the basket and take better shots. We got to mid-range and around the basket. We settled for too many threes early. We rushed shots. In the second half we collected ourselves."
In addition to holding off on the press, McClanahan didn't call any timeouts until the second half.
"Some timeouts for rest are good," McClanahan said. "We did things we know. Nothing special."
Zack Casto led the Irish with 17 points and 10 rebounds. David Godwin and Garrett McCarty added 16 each. Nick George contributed 10 and 10 rebounds. The Irish had a 40-18 edge in points in the pain and 20-2 on fast-break points.
No. 6 Buffalo got 14 points from Levi Jordan and 10 each from Aaron Lewis and Isaiah Robinson. Dylan Rich grabbed 14 rebounds for the Bison (21-5).
Four of Buffalo's five losses this season came against Charleston Catholic.
"We knew if we weren't ahead, they'd spread us out," Bison coach Charles Elkins said. "We got down enough, they went spread and weren't able to catch up. Our guys battled them every time."
Godwin's jumper with 4:29 left in the third broke a 26-26 tie and the Irish never trailed again.
"We wanted to play quick, get it in the 60s or 70s," Elkins said. "Charleston Catholic wanted to play in the 40s or 50s. We got that good run in the third quarter, but it wasn't enough. We fell apart."
The homecoming aspect of the tournament will be highlighted through Saturday. The first session started with a ceremonial jump ball. Former Mullens High and Chesapeake High coach Lewis D'Antoni, who is 99, did the honors. D'Antoni wore a Los Angeles Lakers jacket. His son, Mike, is head coach of the Lakers.
BUFFALO 8 9 11 20 -- 48: Robinson 3-7 4-4 10, Good 1-10 1-2 4, Jordan 5-10 0-0 14, Rich 4-10 0-0 8, Harris 0-2 0-0 0, Lewis 4-9 2-2 10, Fletcher 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 18-51 7-8 48.
CHARLESTON CATHOLIC 7 12 20 22 -- 61: Godwin 7-15 2-2 16, McCarty 5-10 4-6 16, George 5-15 0-1 10, Casto 7-12 3-3 17, Hovorka 1-2 0-0 2, Hoyer 0-0 0-0 0, McKown 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-54 9-12 61.
3-point goals: Buffalo 5-14 (Jordan 4-7, Good 1-6, Fletcher 0-1, Charleston Catholic 2-12 (McCarty 2-4, George 0-1, Hovorka 0-1, Godwin 0-3, Casto 0-3). Fouled out: Lewis. Rebounds: Buffalo 33 (Rich 14), Charleston Catholic 32 (Casto, George 10). Assists: Buffalo 10 (Robinson 4), Charleston Catholic 14 (McCarty 8). Total fouls: Buffalo 14, Charleston Catholic 10. Attendance: na.