CHARLESTON, W.Va. - While Charleston Catholic Coach Bill McClanahan wrung his hands in frustration after the Irish topped previously unbeaten Buffalo last week, Bison Coach Chuck Elkins took his loss with little more than a grain of salt.
"It's far from the end of the world," Elkins said after Buffalo lost its 29th consecutive game against Catholic in a battle of the Kanawha Valley's only Class A schools.
Buffalo had entered the game with nine wins in as many outings, and with one of its most balanced teams. Senior 6-foot forward Levi Jordan is the team's leading scorer at 15.5 points per game, with 5-6 junior guard Laythen Good, 6-1 senior forward Dylan Rich and 5-9 junior point guard Isaiah Robinson also scoring more than 10 points per game.
However, in a game that could have considerable repercussions for both teams in the new regional tournament alignment, the Bison were unable to take advantage of Catholic miscues in the second half. They also allowed the Irish to go on a quick but crucial 7-0 run midway through the third quarter led by consecutive buckets by Keifer Hovorka that essentially changed the tone of a tight game for good, tipping the scales in Catholic's favor.
"We just go back to practice and forget about it," Elkins said of the loss. "We were talking on the bench - me, Adam (Scott) and Garrett (Burdette) - and they played on a team that won nine in a row, got beat and came back out and won the next day.
"It's just another game. We'll go back to practice tomorrow, Saturday and get ready for next week," Elkins said.
The Bison, who were ranked in a tie for third in the initial Associated Press Class A poll last week, have a couple of key showdowns this week that - provided they can win them - should quickly take any sour taste from their mouths from the 53-46 loss to Catholic. Class AA Sissonville (3-6) visits Buffalo on Wednesday, then unbeaten Valley (5-0) comes to the Bison's gym Friday night.
The Secondary School Activities Commission revamped the high school basketball regional alignments to coincide with reclassification that went into effect with the 2012-13 school year. After Class A Region 4 had its roster greatly reduced by the creation of Mingo Central High School - which, through its creation closed Class A schools Williamson, Matewan, Burch and Gilbert - the SSAC redesigned the state's regions to better balance the number of schools in each.
As a result, Buffalo remains in Region 4 and is in Section 2 along with second-ranked Catholic (7-1), Wahama (2-8), Hannan (2-11) and St. Joseph (1-11). Region 1 is comprised of No. 6 Parkersburg Catholic (9-1), Gilmer County (6-4), Williamstown (3-7), Wirt County (2-9), Doddridge County (1-7) and Calhoun County (1-9).
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HURRICANE'S WIN over Riverside on Friday allowed the Redskins (8-2) to equal the best start to a season since 1996-97. Hurricane also started 8-2 in the 2000-01 season.
The 2000-01 team, led by Wes Spradlin and his 17.6 points per game scoring average and No. 2 scorer Aaron Arthur (11.0 ppg) also started 8-2, but struggled down the stretch. The Redskins lost five of their last eight games, and finished 15-9 with a loss to Spring Valley in the regional final.
Hurricane also started 8-2 in the 1996-97 season before finishing 14-9.
Unlike the 2000-01 team, the current, Lance Sutherland-coached edition of the Redskins has been winning games against mostly Mountain State Athletic Conference foes. Hurricane has a non-conference win against Logan and two against Point Pleasant, but has notched victories against Capital, Parkersburg, Winfield, Ripley and Princeton as well as its 64-52 win against the Warriors.
Trey Dawson (6-0) leads the Redskins with a 14.8 points scoring average, while 6-4 center/wing Henry Sorsaia averages 12.3 points and 5-9 point guard Rasaan Harris is at 10.2 ppg.