Honed by years of playing together, Charleston Catholic's seniors have developed a chemistry that's bubbling over their still-shiny home at the top of Hillcrest Drive.
Haston Gerencir, Alex Casingal, Keaghan Ritchie and Logan Shrewsbury are ready to try and lead the Irish to the Class A state championship game after a rare absence in 2011. That Irish team lost to Madonna in the semifinals, ending a run of six straight finals.
But after taking their Senior Night ovations Friday night and then pummeling Valley 65-31, those four seem ready to bring the Irish charging back into the postseason. Coaches and teammates alike are saying as much.
"They've been in our program four years. They've been through the JV battles, through the varsity battles," said coach Bill McClanahan. "They've played in the state tournament, practiced every day. They know the expectations of the program; they've lived them, they've worked them, and they're finishing off good careers with a good season."
From sophomore Nick George, one of three double-figure scorers Friday: "[We get] a lot of leadership from the seniors, all of them, Logan, Haston, Keaghan and Alex. All getting us pumped up, giving us constructive criticism and telling us to do things. Very good leadership."
After a ceremony peppered with humorous and emotional moments - Catholic chose to hold Senior Night a week early, in case of a weather-related cancellation - the Irish went to work, forcing the Greyhounds to miss their first 12 shots. That resulted in a 17-2 lead, which the Irish stretched to 31-7 by halftime, punctuated by a David Godwin runner at the buzzer.
Catholic (16-3) held Valley (7-12) to 3-of-21 shooting in the half, compared to its 11-of-26. The Irish enjoyed a 10-rebound advantage, including seven offensive boards.
From there, the only suspense came in how many Irish players would score how many points. As it turns out, all 12 hit the stat sheet.