Back-to-back city champions
Weir High boys defend home court, take down rival Madonna to keep trophy
WEIRTON — Weir High came out with some hot shooting, got Madonna into a fast paced game and converted that formula into a second-straight city championship, winning 64-48 Friday night inside the Carl Hamill Fieldhouse.
The Red Riders (8-3) had little trouble, as Madonna opened the game attempting to slow the pace both on offense and with a 1-3-1 defense. The Red Riders led by 17-12 after the first eight minutes.
However, Madonna went on an 8-1 run to open the second quarter. When senior Gavin Dietrich made a run-out layup off a long pass from fellow senior Christian Ridgeway, the Blue Dons knotted the game at 20-20.
Then, after a Weir High timeout, it was the Red Riders’ turn to make a run. They outscored the Blue Dons, 15-4, the remainder of the first half to take a 35-24 lead into the locker room at the break. This time Madonna couldn’t answer, and Weir High took a 48-28 lead into the final stanza.
“The big thing we put up on the board in the locker room was to maintain our poise,” veteran Red Rider coach Mike Granato said. “We thought they would put up a run early on because we’re playing with a lot of emotion in this city championship game.
“I thought it was a great crowd that brought a lot of energy to both teams. The bottom line, though, was we wore them down in the second half.”
Granato had nine players in the scoring column, with senior Luca Haught leading the way with 13 points. Junior Elijah Gillette followed with 12.
“It was their runs. They like to play fast,” said Blue Don coach Chris Blair, whose club slipped to 3-7. “We talked about being aware of their runs before the game and try to stop it as quick as you can, but we didn’t do it.
“We stopped their first run and made a run of our own, but they came back and made some shots. They shot very well and played very well. We made a couple runs at them, but we weren’t able to close the gap. When we were making our runs, we made a turnover, missed a shot or got a foul call. We can’t have those things against good teams. We mixed it up defensively and slowed them down a little, but we struggled on the offensive end.”
The Red Riders held a big advantage in rebounding by hauling down 33 off the glass to 20 for the Blue Dons.
Senior veteran Gavin Dietrich led the Blue Dons with 13 points, along with four rebounds and two steals. Junior Evan Boniti tossed in eight points, as did sophomore Lucky Pulice, who returned to the Blue Don lineup after missing several games with a sprained ankle.
The Red Riders return to action next Tuesday with a visit across the Ohio River to play Edison. The Blue Dons are at home next week, playing back-to-back games with Conotton Valley on Tuesday and Wheeling Central Wednesday.
¯ The Red Rider reserves made it a sweep with a 60-36 victory in the preliminary, avenging one of it’s three losses on the season. Anthony Cross scored 15 to lead the way, while Evan Bone’s 12 points led the Blue Don reserves.
Weir High 65, Madonna 48
Madonna 12-12-4-20 — 48
Weir High 17-18-13-17 — 65
MADONNA (3-7): Secrist 3 0-0 6, Sessi 0 0-2 0, Mitchell 0 1-2 1, Boniti 2 2-2 8, Rowing 0 3-4 3, Dietrich 5 2-3 13, Pulice 1 5-8 8, Mazur 3 1-2 7, Ridgeway 0 2-2 2. TOTALS: 14, 16-25: 48. 3-POINT GOALS: 4 (Boniti 2, Dietrich, Pulice). REBOUNDS: 20 (Mazur 5). TURNOVERS: 17.
WEIR HIGH (8-3): Spencer 3 2-4 8, Haught 5 2-3 13, McUmar 0 1-2 1, Gillette 3 5-6 12, Trupiano 2 0-0 5, McCoy 3 1-2 7, Reitter 3 0-1 6, Mikula 4 0-1 8, Buffington 2 0-0 5. TOTALS: 25, 11-19: 65. 3-POINT GOALS: 4 (Haught, Gillette, Trupiano, Buffington). REBOUNDS: 33 (Mikula 9). TURNOVERS: 15.