"We have moments in games - and that's kind of been our thing all year - where for a stretch we'll play really well, and then two, three, four possessions where we don't do what we're supposed to do. Against good teams, you can't do that because they take advantage of those kind of things and they extend the lead if they have the lead, or if you have the lead, they catch back up.''
The late rush was actually the second impressive response by the Irish Friday night.
The initial time came in the first half after they'd burst into a 16-6 lead with smoking shooting, hitting six of their first seven tries, including four 3s.
George exited seconds later (with 2:40 left in the first quarter) with his second foul, and Casto followed him to the bench a couple minutes later with his second personal. But even minus their No. 1 and No. 3 scorers on the season, the Irish flourished the rest of the first half.
"We're deep,'' McCarty said. "We have 11 kids that can play ball. If Nick and Zach do go out, we have kids that can replace them. As you saw, we still played well. We adjusted. We kept attacking and we looked confident. We came out to play, and it shows.''
The numbers were sort of screwy for the two teams, who have accounted for nine of the last 11 state Class A championships.
Catholic shot better than 50 percent in every quarter, ending up at 62 percent (24 of 39) and made half its 10 tries from 3-point range. Casto was 6 of 6 from the floor (with a pair of 3s) and 2 of 2 at the foul line. Central, meanwhile, shot a mere 28 percent.
However, the Knights held a whopping 37-15 edge in rebounding, as David Pleva came off the bench to grab nine and Park gathered in seven. Catholic committed 14 turnovers, but Central had 21.
"Our shooting has a lot to do with our movement and our distribution,'' McClanahan said, "and our being ready to take good shots, and the ball being delivered the right way. I think we're starting to see that. We're shooting in rhythm, we're not forcing shots and so our shooting percentage is starting to get better.''
Central completes its southern swing by playing at Winfield at 3:30 p.m. today.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.