WEIRTON - Using a tight man-to-man defense that completely disrupted Weir High's offense, Oak Glen, behind a career high 22 points from senior Cody Howell, defeated the home standing Red Riders 43-29 Tuesday night.
Weir High was confused to the point of committing 19 turnovers and took only 35 shots and reached in double figures in just one quarter with 10 in the third.
Then, the Red Riders couldn't contain Howell, who seemed to score at will. The 6-foot-3 senior, who averaged about three points a game last year, pumped in 10 field goals - most of them layups. In addition, he led all rebounders with nine off the glass.
Oak Glen’s Cody Howell tries to drive baseline on Weir High’s Andre Sims during Tuesday’s game at the Carl Hamill Fieldhouse, won by the Golden Bears, 43-29. -- Courtesy Newbrough Photo
"Cody has always been capable of that," said Golden Bear coach Dave Smith, who won his first game after being away from the basketball court for nine years. "If he can come out like he did tonight, inspired, each and every night, he's capable of doing that. He really is.
"I'm proud of our defensive effort tonight. I wasn't proud of the way we played last week against John Marshall, but we worked in practice on the pressure defense with ball side help and the kids came out tonight and did it. We have to get better offensively, but defensively we're where we want to be."
Despite the struggles with 11 first-half turnovers and only four field goals, the Red Riders trailed by just two points at the half, 16-14. And they didn't have a bad third period even though they were outscored 14-10.
But the Riders could only muster one fourth quarter field goal and were outscored 13-5.
"It's easy to look at the turnovers and say they were the difference in the game," said veteran Weir High coach Mike Granato. "I think you have to look at what caused the turnovers. The difference in the game was that they had great ball pressure.
"They're ball pressure forced us to start the offense out a little bit higher than we wanted to. We weren't able to get the ball to the cutters and weren't able to get the ball inside and totally disrupted us.
"I give Dave (Smith), his staff and his kids all the credit in the world. They took the game to us. I watched them play last Friday against John Marshall and I thought they were a completely different team tonight."
The Golden Bears lengthened their six-point third quarter lead to 14 points at 38-24 before Weir High senior, Dylan Cassiadoro, finally canned a jump shot.
Junior Andre Sims, who missed the first game still nursing a hand injury, made two free throws to cut the Oak Glen lead to 10 points. But on Oak Glen's next possession, Howell went down the lane for his final field goal of the game.
The Bears got a field goal from sophomore Tyler Click and a free throw from senior point guard Matt McLaughlin, who backed up Howell with seven points and eight rebounds, to finish the scoring. Weir High's only rebuttal was when Shane Davis made the front end of a one-and-one from the foul line.
The 6-3 Sims, who came off the bench to block four shots and grab five rebounds, shared high scoring honors for Weir High with Cassiadoro. Each had nine points.
Both teams return to action next Friday, Oak Glen hosting East Liverpool and Weir High welcoming Brooke.
Oak Glen 43, Weir High 29
Oak Glen 5 11 14 13 - 43
Weir 9 5 10 5 - 29
OAK GLEN (1-1): Click 2 0-0 4, Kincaid 2 0-0 4, Howell 10 2-4 22, McLaughlin 1 4-10 7, McGraw 0 1-2 1, Woodruff 2 1-2 5. Totals: 17 8-18 43. Three-pointers: McLaughlin (1); Rebounds: 28 (Howell, 9); Turnovers: 12.
WEIR HIGH (0-2): Masters 1 0-0 2, Viakley 0 1-2 1, Davis 0 1-2 1, Cassiadoro 3 2-3 9, Groves 2 1-3 5, Smith 0 0-2 0, Sims 3 3-6 9, Curtis 1 0-0 2. Totals: 10 8-18 29. Three-pointers: Cassiadoro (1); Rebounds: 29 (Groves, 6); Turnovers: 19.