CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Coaches of quality high school athletic programs have a long history of raking their teams over the coals in public after a sub-par performance.
Suffice it to say, however, that after Saturday night's 56-53 loss to visiting Linsly, this will not likely be an enjoyable week to be a member of the Charleston Catholic boys basketball team.
The Irish (4-1) don't play again until Saturday, when they travel to rival Buffalo (5-1). Catholic coach Bill McClanahan said there will be numerous concerns about his team addressed before that game tips off.
McClanahan watched in frustration as his team squandered an 11-point lead to open the fourth quarter against the Cadets. The Irish rushed shots, made ill-advised passes, failed to convert on free-throw opportunities and in general ran out of gas down the stretch.
"Starting Wednesday in practice ...the bar will be raised for every thing we do," McClanahan said. "The expectations will change for everything we do, and the intensity level will change for everything we do and if it doesn't, I'll find five guys in that locker room that will make this program be well represented.
"Whether it's my best five or not is entirely up to them, but it will be five young men who will go out and do the things that bring pride to this program," McClanahan said.
Catholic has played in each of the last two Class A state championship games. The Irish won the state title in 2012 and fell to Tug Valley in last year's State Tournament. McClanahan's teams have reached the title game eight times since he took over the program in 2002 and also won championships in 2006 and 2007.
Senior Garret McCarty has assumed on-court leadership duties for the Irish, and leads the team with a scoring average of 20 points per game while senior All-State forward Nick George averages 16.4 points. Beyond that duo, however, Catholic has yet to find a reliable third scoring option.
Once Linsly (2-3) placed its best player - 6-foot-2 wing Anthony Wallace - in defense of McCarty in a man-to-man scheme, the 5-9 point guard found it difficult to navigate traffic and get open looks at the basket and there was little stopping the Cadets' comeback.
The game against Buffalo will be Catholic's fifth outing this season. By that time the Bison will have seven games under their belts. The sporadic early season scheduling for the Irish has contributed to their lack of rhythm, McClanahan said, but there is much more that needs improved other than playing on a regular basis.
"We can condition a little bit more but some of it's just effort," McClanahan said. "Sometimes you just have to dig down and find a gear that you don't think you have and push yourself.
"Right now, we're not willing to do that, and that's one of the things we'll cover in practice," he said.