Charleston Catholic's Garret McCarty (10) drives past Greater Beckley Christian's Brent Daniels (21).
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It has become Garret McCarty's tradition to be the last Charleston Catholic player on the floor for warm-ups, and he stays there until he makes his final shot.On Friday, his last pregame shot was a lay-up, but once the game started he was deadly from much farther away.McCarty's five first-quarter 3-pointers allowed the Irish to settle into an effective four-corner offense for the remaining three periods, and by the end of two halves Catholic was celebrating one big 61-52 win over Class A No. 1 Greater Beckley Christian.A healthy crowd attended the matchup of Class A top-five teams at the Charleston Catholic Athletic Facility.Catholic's senior point guard drained his first five attempts from distance and scored 15 of his game-high 24 points in the first quarter as the Irish claimed an early lead. He finished 6 of 7 from beyond the arc."I make my last shot [in warm-ups], it gets my confidence going, and I came out hot," McCarty said. "I've been shooting the ball really well. I'm going to keep doing what I do before games."After that initial surge, the Irish were content to spread the floor and patiently work the ball, sometimes up to a minute or a minute and a half at a time until, more often than not, someone got a look at the rim from point-blank range.
Overall it was an impressive showing from No. 5 Catholic (8-2) and one coach Bill McClanahan admitted could loom large moving forward."That's a fantastic win because [Greater Beckley has] all the ingredients to compete for a state championship," McClanahan said. "It lets the team know that when they come to practice focused and come to games ready to compete with everything they've got, that they're capable of doing good things."After McCarty's hot start, he was hit with his second foul late in the first period and was relegated to the bench for much of the second.
But instead of backing off, the Irish surged further ahead, racking up a 16-5 scoring advantage in the quarter. At halftime, Catholic led 35-20.Irish big man Nick George also deserves a lot of credit as he fell four assists short of a triple-double, finishing with 13 points, 10 rebounds and six helpers. "His floor game was as good as I've ever seen it in his four years here," McClanahan said. "I thought he made great decisions with the basketball, he distributed well, he attacked when he needed to, he rebounded well on the defensive end and I'm proud of him for that."On the other end, Catholic's 2-3 zone clogged up the middle for most of the night and left the Crusaders (8-2) settling for jump shots most of the night. Greater Beckley finished 9 for 31 from 3-point range and shot just 19 for 61 from the field.It was the second loss in a row for Greater Beckley after it dropped its first game of the season on Saturday to Class AAA Hurricane.
"When you hit five in the first quarter and you get a lead like that, you get to pretty much dictate the game the way you want to play it, and that's pretty much what happened tonight," Greater Beckley coach Dan Burd said. "Charleston Catholic did such a great job with [the four-corners offense] and broke us down. When we get the ball back, you've got to score quick because we're down so many points and that kind of threw us out of our offense a little bit."Elisha Kidd scored 16 points to lead the Crusaders while Javonne Staunton Bailey added 11 and Anthony Helton 10.Hayden McCarty got the start for the injured Patrick Herlihy and added 10 points for the Irish. Aaron Persily also contributed 10 points for Catholic.Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org
, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.