Boys basketball: McCarty, Irish hold off Bison
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- All season long, Garret McCarty and Nick George have been quite the 1-2 punch for the Charleston Catholic boys basketball team, combining for more than 49 points per game.
Against Buffalo on Wednesday night McCarty put on a show, while George struggled throughout most of the night.
George, however, got a couple fortunate bounces to help change the game as the Irish pulled away from Buffalo for a 77-65 victory at the Charleston Catholic Athletic Complex.
Catholic (7-2) led the pesky Bison 54-50 late in the third quarter when George shot a 3-pointer that hit the rim, bounced high in the air, and fell through.
Seconds later, George hit a mid-range jumper that hit the rim numerous times before going through, and the mini-run gave the Irish some much needed breathing room.
"It was important for Nick to hit those couple shots and it gave us a little bit of a cushion," Catholic coach Bill McClanahan said. "I'm glad we had it because Buffalo kept cutting into the lead."
George, who was just 1-for-5 at the time with four points - 14.9 below his season average - felt fortunate to get the bounces that seemed to get him and the team going against Coach Chuck Elkins' Bison (6-4).
"I hadn't made much so that was very helpful to get those to roll in," George said. "It was huge and after those two, I thought maybe I should keep throwing it up."
McCarty and George opened up the fourth quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers, and the 65-50 lead was more than enough to finally put away Buffalo.
George finished with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, but McCarty had it going from the opening tip.
McCarty hit three 3-pointers to begin the game, giving Catholic a 9-0 lead, and had 22 points at halftime. The senior finished with a game-high 31 points.
"Garret is a great point guard," McClanahan said. "He is continuing to learn the game and develop his skills. He has another gear that he is going to find, too. He's an excellent player."
McCarty was glad to get off to a hot start, hitting his first three shots, all 3-pointers, in giving his team an early lead. Catholic never trailed despite several pushes by the Bison.
"It got my confidence up and my team's," McCarty said. "I'm shooting the ball well right now. It really relaxed us. Everyone was a little nervous. This was a big game for us."
McCarty averages a team-high 20.5 points per game. He and George account for 75 percent of Catholic's scoring.
With Patrick Herlihy - the team's third-leading scorer at around 11 points per game currently injured - the Irish are looking for another scorer to complement McCarty and George.
Catholic got a solid game on Wednesday night out of Aaron Persily, who tallied more than half of his season average with 12 points.
"Aaron has been huge," George said. "He's been consistent and a nice presence inside. He's been very helpful throughout the season and those 10-12 points is really huge for us."
Despite trailing all game, Buffalo wouldn't go away quietly. After giving up the first nine points of the game, the Bison cut it down to five late in the quarter.
The Bison trailed by 13 at halftime but trimmed the lead all the way down to 54-50 late in the third quarter before George's fortunate rolls finally ended any hope of a comeback.
"Our guys played really hard," Buffalo coach Chuck Elkins said. "We were close but no cigar. We just couldn't get over the hump. When we do, we will go from average to being good."
Isaiah Robinson led Buffalo with 20 points and Laythen Good added 16 points.