Two more Cardinal Conference teams crashed the party for the Class AA tournament this week, making it nine straight years the league has sent at least one representative to the state tourney.
Cardinal teams, known more often for football success, have held their own in that stretch of state tourneys, too, going 13-12 overall and making the finals three times.
Tolsia (17-8), the No. 5 seed and Scott (15-10), the No. 7 seed, have survived an entire season in a defensive-minded league. Three Cardinal teams allowed 46 points or less per game, and Tolsia (50.8) wasn't far behind.
Cardinal teams have learned to play at all speeds, with the Rebels winning with scores in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s this season, and the Skyhawks in the 30s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.
"Our league is a really good defensive league,'' said Poca coach Allen Osborne. "It's a good league. Our two teams will represent our conference well. I'd like to see them play in the championship game, to be honest with you.''
Approach the bench
For some teams, the benches grow shorter the deeper you go into the season.
For its final regular-season game, Charleston Catholic nearly went with an iron five lineup the entire way. Reserves Nelson McKown and Andy Hoyer, though, each saw a sliver of playing time in the final moments.
"I think our bench is ready to play their roles come tournament time,'' said Irish coach Bill McClanahan. "They understand what their roles are. They know to do the best they can for the time they're out there.
"The five on the court are going to get the most of the minutes, but this time of year most teams are going to do that.''
Thanks for the memories
This week's state tournament experience will likely mean a bit more to Hurricane's players and coaches, since it's their first trip in boys basketball.
Coach Lance Sutherland has taken a lot of glad-handing in the last week from fans in and around Putnam County, but deflects the praise to his players.
"You can't tell what it means to the community,'' Sutherland said. "I had a guy come up and shake my hand before the [regional] game and say, 'Thank you. The community thanks you for what you've done.'
"Hey, it's not what I've done. It's what those 15 players did. It has nothing to do with me. It's all them and what they did.''
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.