Big Red hangs on to beat Riders

STEUBENVILLE – Opportunity knocked on a lot of doors Thursday inside the Crimson Center.

Big Red’s girls responded to a few more knocks than Weir High and earned a thrilling 45-43 victory. The win moves the Lady Red to 11-1 on the season.

When leading scorer Emiley Masloski went down with a first-quarter knee injury, two freshmen (Emiley’s kid sister Hannah and Lysaih Rice) came up huge as Big Red completed the season sweep of the Red Riders. Hannah Masloski finished with 13 points and Rice added 12.

“We always say when you get an opportunity, you have to make the most of that opportunity,” said Mark Masloski, who filled in for head coach Phil Casinelli. “Lysaih has been working really hard lately and she took advantage of her opportunity tonight.

“Hannah did a nice job. She’s watched her sister from the bench and has played coming off the bench. She stepped up her game tonight. We expect the Masloski girls to understand the game.”

Bill Smith’s club was up 7-5 after one thanks to a Raegan Stead hoop. The visitors held an 11-6 lead early in the second frame following another Stead bucket. Rice scored four in a row and Mytia Barker added a pair as the hosts moved ahead 12-11.

Shelva Burns scored from the paint and the line, allowing the Riders to grab a five-point spread (20-15). Dominque Wilson pulled the Red to within three at the half.

With the score tied at 27 late in the third period, Hannah Masloski and Rice sparked a six-point Big Red run. Rice got things started with a free toss then Masloski drained her third triple of the evening. The scoring burst ended when Rice turned a nifty Masloski pass into two points.

Alyssa Shingle sparked a fourth quarter Weir rally that pulled the Riders to within one at 41-40. Barker knocked down a free throw and forced one in off glass to make it 44-40 Big Red. Shingle drained a three to keep Weir within striking distance. Masloski sealed the deal with a conversion from the stripe.

Shingle, Weir’s junior point guard, scored 12 of her game-high 21 points during the final eight minutes.

“All of our girls did a good job with their expanded roles tonight,” coach Masloski added. “We got some stops in crunch time and the key defensively was our ability to limit them to one shot. We were rebounding the ball pretty well (Big Red outrebounded Weir 30-25).

“We struggled with their zone and had to make some adjustments. We got that lead at the end of the third quarter and we were able to bring them out into man to man instead of the zone. We did a nice job of protecting the ball. When you handle the ball well, good things happen.”

Barker, the 5-8 junior, also had a big night for the winners. She scored 12 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and recorded six steals.

“Emiley’s injury was unfortunate but our other girls had to step up,” Mark Masloski continued. “We’re a pretty young team with just one senior who comes off the bench. We put girls in different positions tonight and they handled it pretty well.

“We play nine girls and they understand their roles and are good teammates. Our goal is to win the game and the girls don’t care who scores or who gets the glory.”

Burns finished with nine points for Weir and pulled down eight rebounds.

“I’m proud of them,” Smith said. “They could have folded earlier and maybe lost by 10 or more. We had our opportunities down the stretch. You can’t give teams second- chance shots and you have to take care of the basketball.

“I don’t know how many layups we missed, but it was too many. I hope Emiley is OK. You take 20 something points out of the game, you have an opportunity. We didn’t take advantage of it. Then again, that’s why they are 11-1. They were able to do some things despite their star being out of the lineup.”

Big Red returns to action Monday when it travels to Shadyside.

As far as its leading scorer goes, her father noted “we’re taking her to the doctor today (Friday).”

“We wanted to see how she went before the game,” Mark Masloski noted. “Her shot looked fine and she was moving OK. She’s had some problems the last couple of years, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Weir, now 4-7, entertains Catholic Central Monday.

“We’ve had a pretty tough schedule so far and played some pretty good ball clubs along the way,” Smith said. “There have been times when we lost opportunities.

“The good thing is basketball is not like football, everybody goes to the sectionals. So, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

Big Red 45, Weir 43

Weir 7 13 7 16 – 43

Big Red 5 12 16 12 – 45

WEIR (4-7): Young 0 0-4 0; Stead 2 3-4 7; Shingle 7 6-8 21; Long 1 0-0 2; Robinson 0 0-0 0; Lemly 1 0-2 2; Burns 3 3-4 9; Dalrymple 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 15 12-20 43. 3-pointers: Shingle; Rebounds: 25 (Burns 8); Turnovers: 19.

BIG RED (11-1): E. Masloski 0 0-0 0; H. Masloski 4 2-7 13; Young 0 0-0 0; Poole 1 0-0 2; Wilson 1 0-0 2; Barker 3 6-11 12; Rice 5 2-4 12; Bodo 0 1-2 1; Taylor 1 0-0 3. TOTALS: 15 11-24 45. 3-pointers: H. Masloski (3); Taylor; Rebounds: 30 (Barker 11); Turnovers: 16.