Big Red rolls past Weir High

UP AND OVER — Steubenville’s Anaiya Minniefield shoots over Weir High’s Trezure Elmore-Sarter while Bailey Stead (24) and Sophia Mikula (2) watch on Thursday. (Photo by Joe Catullo)

WEIRTON — The Steubenville girls basketball team got 35 points from a freshman and a sophomore combined, and it rolled to a 58-36 victory Thursday night over Weir High inside the Carl Hamill Fieldhouse.

The win pulled coach Jeff Lombardo’s club to 2-2, while it was the third straight lopsided loss for the Red Riders after a win in the season opener.

Freshman Makayla Abram pretty much had her way inside as she hung out in the paint and got eight field goals from close range. She was 5-of-8 from the foul line for 21 points. She got a lot of help inside from sophomore Madison Fields, who finished with 14 points and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.

The future looks bright for Big Red girls basketball, according to coach Jeff Lombardo.

“Both of our post players got the ball inside and finished well tonight,” he said of the duo. “It makes things easier when we’re getting our looks from three or four feet in to the basket. And when that happens, we start making more outside shots, too.”

Lombardo’s team played a passive type of defense in the first quarter, but it still was able to get the jump on the Red Riders 19-12. Big Red noticeably stepped up the pressure in the second period, forcing eight Weir High turnovers and scoring several run-out baskets to take a 38-16 lead into the locker room at the half. The Red Riders had 18 total turnovers in the game with Big Red being able to convert many of them into points.

“Our game plan was to be in the passing lanes in the first quarter, and we actually, for a change, were scoring in the first quarter,” Lombardo said. “But they were still in the game because, defensively, we weren’t in the passing lanes. It was nice to put some points on the board, but defensively, we were not getting after it. They weren’t doing things we worked on in practice the last two days.

“In the second quarter, that changed, and we ended up getting offense from our defense. When you play good defense like that, good things tend to happen.”

Senior Seana Ragusa sparked the Big Red offense in the first quarter, nailing two shots from behind the arc. Abram scored 11 of her 21 points in the opening stanza.

In an attempt to right the ship, Red Rider coach Rick Stead opened the game with two freshmen making their varsity debuts. Isabella Aperfine finished with two points, while Leah Maley was 5-of-5 from the foul line and finished with seven points.

Weir High senior and leading scorer Bailey Stead scored five points in the first quarter, but she was held scoreless by Big Red senior Sarah Brown until she made an off balance layup in the fourth. She ended with seven points.

“We started two freshman, two sophomores and a senior tonight,” Weir High coach Rick Stead said. “There’s a learning curve with that. We just have to get back into the gym tomorrow and keep at it.

“We made some moves and knocked down some shots in the first quarter, but then they stepped up the pressure. This is the second year in a row that they played us man most of the game. It also is the second year that Brown has stuck with Bailey and held her in check.”

Sophomore Sophia Mikula led the way for Weir High with eight points and had a team high six rebounds.

Weir High has a week off and will return to the hardwood next Thursday, hosting Madonna. Big Red plays again at unbeaten Brooke Wednesday.

“They are a good team,” Stead said of Big Red. “They are athletic kids and causing havoc with their defense. Some of our kids don’t have the confidence to control the ball in the face of that pressure.”

Game notes:

The Big Red junior varsity won 31-26. Jazzmin Jett scored eight points to lead Big Red. Sarah Hudacheck and Casey Yacos each scored five points for Weir High.

Big Red 58, Weir High 36

Big Red 19-19-12-8 — 58

Weir High 12-4-10-10 — 36

BIG RED (2-2): Ragusa 3 0-0 8; Thompson 0 0-2 0; Brown 5 1-3 11; Fields 6 2-2 14; Crownover 1 0-0 2; Larue 0 1-2 1; Ferguson 0 1-2 1; Abram 8 5-8 21. TOTALS: 23, 10-20: 58. 3-pointers: Ragusa 2; Rebounds: 22 (Fields 8); Turnovers: 10.

WEIR HIGH (1-3): Mikula 4 0-0 8; Fuscardo 1 0-1 1; Webster 2 1-2 5; Aperfine 1 0-0 2; Maley 1 5-5 7; Stead 3 0-0 7; McAllister 2 0-0 4; Elmore-Sartor 0 1-2 1. TOTALS: 14, 7-10: 36. 3-pointers: Stead; Rebounds 22 (Mikula 6); Turnovers: 18.