Charleston Catholic's early season optimism was tempered a bit by a Dec. 20 home game against Poca, in which the Irish blew a five-point halftime lead and fell 54-51 in overtime.
The Irish (5-1) seemed to have rediscovered their motivation, evidenced by a 60-32 conquest at Buffalo Tuesday night.
"We just didn't have any energy against Poca,'' said senior Keaghan Ritchie, "but tonight we came out like we should. We started off great, and finished it.''
Catholic coach Bill McClanahan thinks he was able to impress upon his team that the season was moving toward the most important time of the year - the postseason. That's been prime time for a program that's played in six of the last seven Class A state championship games.
"We're starting to understand that March is not that far away,'' McClanahan said. "The season's starting to wind down and we just had that conversation earlier this week - March is only about six, seven weeks away and so we can't just wait to flip the switch. There's not a switch to turn on and off.
"We've got to do every little thing every day to get ready for March, and it appears that [against Buffalo], our players bought into it - and from a coach's perspective, that's very satisfying.''
On the other side of the floor, Buffalo coach Chuck Elkins was willing to just forget about a game in which his team posted its lowest point total of the season.
The Bison (5-3), who shot just 21 percent against Catholic, had been averaging 63-plus points, but managed about half that on Tuesday.
"I look at it not so much as [worrying about] a carryover, or a hangover,'' Elkins said. "We played last Thursday and Friday and I gave them the weekend off, and [Jan. 2] was a holiday and we don't get much out of them on Mondays. We ran into a really good team. We just mark it down as one bad game and move on. We want to try and not turn it into two or three [bad games].''
Let it snow
Kanawha County Schools' decision to relax its no-classes, no-games rule sure looked a lot like the old policy Tuesday night as the first real blast of wintry weather hit the area.
All five county public school boys teams set to play Tuesday had their games called off, including South Charleston and Sissonville, who had home games scheduled. Other trips scrubbed included Nitro at Ripley, St. Albans at Lincoln County and Herbert Hoover at Tolsia.
In past years, any time county classes were called off by inclement weather, all games were automatically postponed, but officials decided to rescind that blanket policy and allow exceptions if traveling conditions improved later in the day. Some coaches believe those exceptions will be permitted later in the season when teams have fewer days to make up games.
Some school systems decided travel wasn't so dicey on Tuesday. Parkersburg Catholic made it all the way to Weirton for a game with Madonna, Ravenswood ventured to Tyler Consolidated and Sherman hiked to Roane County.
In the immediate region, Charleston Catholic played at Buffalo, Poca made it to Scott and Chapmanville ventured to Man. Other games played included Mingo Central at Logan, Winfield at Cabell Midland and Huntington at Hurricane.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175