CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston Catholic forced just 13 turnovers, but it was the Irish pressure that resulted in the demise of Buffalo's season Wednesday at the state tournament.
The third-seeded Irish received double-doubles from Zach Casto and Nick George and the Catholic press forced the tempo in a 61-48 victory over the No. 6 seed Bison (21-5).
Four players scored in double figures for Catholic (23-3), which will face No. 7 Wheeling Central at 9:30 a.m. Friday in a Class A semifinal.
Casto had 17 points and 10 rebounds and George finished with 10 points and 10 boards. They combined for 20 of Catholic's 32 rebounds.
It was the fourth meeting of the season between the teams, all of which were won by Charleston Catholic.
"We came out focused," said Charleston Catholic Coach Bill McClanahan, who has guided the Irish to the state semifinals eight consecutive years with three titles. "In the first half, we had some nervous energy and didn't apply it very well."
The Irish didn't step up the full-court pressure until the third quarter, which resulted in a 13-2 run and an 11-point lead entering the final period.
A curious decision, perhaps for the defending Class A state champion, but one that McClanahan said was by design.
"It's a coaching decision," McClanahan said. "I try to coach based on my players and their temperament, their style and the opponent. I didn't feel we were as deep as we were in the past. I tried to keep legs fresh and knew that five would have to go most of the game."
Some of the reasoning, McClanahan admitted, was the hill his team might have to climb to get back to the state championship game.
The addition of former Class AA teams Magnolia and Tug Valley might have altered his decision-making process against a team the Irish had already beaten three times this season.