Things are starting to fall in place for Charleston Catholic.
In a week’s time, the Irish have knocked off a pair of state-ranked Class A teams, including Friday’s 75-64 conquest of No. 1 Wheeling Central on the Maroon Knights’ home floor.
One week earlier, Catholic earned a 72-51 victory against previously unbeaten St. Joseph, the No. 7 team in Class A.
Those wins put the Irish at 6-1 this season, with their lone loss to Poca, the No. 3 team in Class AA. Catholic began the week ranked fifth in Class A.
At Central, they went 8 of 8 from the field in the fourth quarter and Aiden Satterfield, a 6-foot-5 junior, poured in a career-high 33 points and Zion Suddeth scored 21.
“I think we wanted this one as a team,’’ Charleston Catholic coach Hunter Moles said to The Intelligencer on Friday. “Obviously, Charleston Catholic and Wheeling Central have a history. We build that up to our guys. This is a rivalry game. It is a business trip.
“They are No. 1 in the state and you have to respect that or they will beat you. We respect them, their program, coaches, coaching staff. This gets you hyped to play.’’
Against St. Joseph, the Irish got 18 points and 12 rebounds from their bench players, which helped when they experienced some second-half foul problems.
“We trust our guys,’’ Moles said. “We trust every single one of them. We tell them that all the time: ‘We trust you. Go out there and do what you have to do.’
“And I think our starters have changed a lot. We’ve started over seven guys already, so we have a good bench this year, and we’re very lucky to have all of our guys on the team.’’
Carry on, Kerion
Capital keeps adjusting early in the season, but this time it’s for a good reason.
The Cougars began the season having lost 10 of their top 11 scorers from a year ago, but one very important piece was added to the puzzle this past week when senior forward Kerion Martin rejoined the squad. The Marshall football recruit missed the first five games rehabbing a shoulder injury suffered in November.
Martin averaged just under 10 points per game a year ago and capped his season by matching his career-high with 23 points in a 60-57 Class AAA state tournament semifinal loss to Martinsburg.
So after playing nearly the first month of the season with virtually no experience on the floor other than senior guard and outside marksman Karrington Hill, the Cougars have to adjust again, this time with a bunch of new players getting used to Martin.
“That’s a big dynamic to be adding to the team,’’ said Capital coach Matt Greene. “We’ve been practicing and doing everything else and now when he comes back in, it’s kind of changed some different things — and in a good way. But it’s an adjustment for us to get everybody on the same page and then executing what we’re trying to execute.
“He’s obviously getting his legs back and he’s in pretty good shape. Not in game shape yet, but he does a good job of playing tired as well. But he’ll get his conditioning and that will get better, and it’s a big addition to us.’’
Martin has scored 27 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in his first two games.
One of the big reasons for Cabell Midland’s 8-0 start and No. 2 ranking in Class AAA is the balanced lineup it can put on the floor.
The Knights relied last season on freshman guard Chandler Schmidt, a second-team all-stater, but have added some firepower to go along with him this season — and the new additions don’t hesitate to play the game full throttle, whether it’s hoisting 3-pointers or attacking the basket.
Schmidt scores at a 21-points-per-game clip, and is backed by 6-4 junior newcomer K.K. Siebert (14.0), freshman guard Dominic Schmidt (10.1), Palmer Riggio (8.3) and 6-9 Sean Marcum (8.3).
“Everybody comes in and does their part,’’ said first-year Midland coach J.J. Martin. “It’s not only where, ‘This guy can do this, and this guy can do that.’ They know they have full range to pretty much play and make plays. Chandler’s returned and he really makes us go, and K.K. is a big piece of the team, too, as are all six of the guys we play.’’
Through the first eight games, the Knights have produced 25 double-figure scoring efforts — those coming from six different players. And the 3-pointer is a big part of the success. In the first half of Thursday’s win at Capital, Midland was 6 of 13 from 3-point range in gaining a 37-24 lead, which helped immensely in a 72-62 victory.
“As far as shooting the 3 ball,’’ Martin said, “they work on it every day, put a lot of shots up and they shoot it with confidence. We don’t get on them for made or missed shots. They know that. They’ve got the green light to pull, and I think that helps them.’’
No one can say Capital and George Washington don’t get prepared for the postseason. The Cougars (2-5) and Patriots (6-3) have faced some difficult opponents so far.
In fact, the four teams Capital has lost to (it played unbeaten Ashland, Kentucky, twice) are a combined 39-3 so far and the three teams GW has lost to are 32-3. That includes Ashland (16-0), Shady Spring (9-0), Cabell Midland (8-0) and GW for Capital, and Ashland, Shady and Logan (7-3) for GW.
“He doesn’t dodge anybody, we don’t dodge anybody,’’ GW coach Rick Greene said of the city rivals. “We’ve all played good people. That’s the way we do it.’’
Matt Greene, his son and Capital’s coach, concurred.
“Our schedule has been a legit schedule,’’ Rick Greene said. “I don’t think we’ve played a team that isn’t ranked somewhere.
“I knew from setting up the schedule that it was going to be a little bit tough early — this stretch especially, because we’ll play four games in less than a week. When we have practice time, we only get one day of practice and having played the night before, you don’t get all of your practice reps.’’
Capital hosts South Charleston (6-2) on Monday. SC has won four in a row.