BUFFALO, W.Va. -- With hard work and confidence comes production and impact, and for Charleston Catholic's Zach Casto that combination has lifted his game and the Irish to new heights at perhaps the most crucial point of the basketball season.
Previously known a defender first, Casto has emerged to become one of Catholic's most viable scoring options. Casto, a senior, established new personal career-high scoring marks twice in the past two weeks, bringing a new flavor to his game and the team, but his recent production comes as no shock to Coach Bill McClanahan.
"I would like to say I'm surprised, but I'm not," McClanahan said.
After setting his personal best at 23, Casto eclipsed that mark with a game-high 29 points during Catholic's 83-59 win at Buffalo last Tuesday.
McClanahan said Casto's offensive contributions, though late in his career, come as a direct result of Casto's continued effort away from the court.
"Zach's worked hard," he said. "He worked hard in the offseason. He's worked hard in the fall, and Zach has put himself in a position to be successful, and we talk about that as a team.
"You have to earn success. Everybody wants to be successful, but you have to earn it, and Zach went out and has done the things in practice and the offseason to earn it, so I'm happy for him, and I knew he was capable of it. I'm just glad to see him to do it, so he knows he's capable of it, and now I would expect his confidence to continue to grow."
Casto's confidence took center stage at Buffalo as he converted on each of his first nine field-goal attempts, and he finished 11-of-13 from the floor.
Irish junior Nick George said offensive success is nothing new to Casto, though.
"That's not just this game, that's multiple games," he said. "He plays with confidence. He's unstoppable."
Casto attributed his game-time success to an efficient practice plan.
"Honestly, I'm just shooting a lot more in practice and I'm really starting to focus in and zone in at practice and just get the right shots up, that I know I'm going to shoot in the game," he said, "so it's making me more confident on the court."
As Casto's confidence grows and his game attracts attention, his impact creates opportunities for his Irish teammates.