Golden Bears defeat rival Red Riders

NEW MANCHESTER – The Oak Glen boys’ basketball jumped out to a 17-2 lead en route to a 57-37 victory over Hancock County rival Weir in a West Virginia Class AA Region One, Section One contest Saturday night at the Oak Glen Fieldhouse.

Oak Glen (4-18) led by as many as 27 points in the second stanza and led 39-15 at halftime.

“I don’t think they ever cut it under 10,” Oak Glen head coach Dave Smith said. “I am proud of the way we played tonight. We were aggressive. We took it to the bucket. We hit some big shots early on.

“I am proud of the kids. They are a great group of kids. They are great group to be around. They are a great group to coach. I hope good things continue to happen for them.”

The Red Riders end the season at 2-20.

“They got off to a great start,” veteran Weir head coach Mike Granato said. “They buried their shots. They put us down. I don’t think anyone has shot like that against us all year. They did it tonight early on. You have to give them credit. I want to congratulate them on the win, and I wish them good luck as they go on.”

Senior sharpshooter Matt McLaughlin netted a game-high 13 points, while Cody Howell tallied 10 points for the winners, who visit North Marion at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“They made their shots,” Granato said. “They made them in transition. They made them off of their press. They were able to build the momentum, and one shot led to two and two led to three.”

Josh Groves led the Red Riders with 11 points. Dylan Cassiadoro and Andre Sims each delivered six points.

“To beat Mike, you are going to have to play your best and do what you do best,” Smith said. “Neither one of us like to play zone, but we had to do that. It is hard to get back into a game when you can’t play pressure man-to-man defense.

“We played better tonight. They played better than us the last time we played here.

“Mike does a great job. He always has, and he always will. Anytime we can’t beat Weir it is a good win for us.”

The Red Riders fought back in the third quarter, outscoring Oak Glen, 17-9, to pull within 16 points entering the fourth quarter.

Weir scored 10 of the first 12 points of the period to pull within 16 points (41-25) following a three-point play by Groves with 5:59 showing on the scoreboard clock. Later, Weir ripped off five-straight points to close the gap to 12 points (44-32) late in the quarter.

“Our kids came back,” Granato said. “They showed great character. They are resilient. They battled hard. That is a reflection of our four seniors. They gave a championship effort during their four years at Weir.

“When I look back on this year I’m going to look at the relationships we have built. We have a lot of young kids who were able to see action this year. We are going to piece things together as we head into the summer program. We are going to do what we need to do to get back to where we belong.”

Weir’s four seniors are Nathan Masters, Davis, Cassiadoro and Groves.

North Marion defeated Oak Glen twice during the regular season – 44-43 at Oak Glen and 61-40 at North Marion.

“They are athletic,” Smith said. “They are big. Their guards are big. They have a 6-5 post player. He does a good job for them. He got into foul trouble in the game up here. Their guards can make shots.

“We are going to have to be ready to play. The kids know we can compete with them. If we play like we did tonight, I know we can compete with them. We played very well tonight.”