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Red Riders best another rival on back-to-back nights, 49-30

DOWN THE MIDDLE — Weir High’s Sophia Mikula drives between Brooke’s Jordan Arca, left, and Natalie Ryan for a layup on Thursday. Also shown are the Bruins’ Lydia Buchmelter and the Red Riders’ Leah Maley and Taylor Nutter. -Joe Catullo

WELLSBURG — Sophia Mikula scored 20 points and Taylor Nutter snared 16 rebounds, as the Weir High girls went on the road for the first time this season to defeat Brooke, 49-30, Thursday night inside the Wellness Center.

The teams battled evenly until Nutter made 1 of 2 free throws that gave the Red Riders a 14-13 lead with 5:13 left in the second quarter. After that, Weir High slowly pulled away and had a big fourth quarter to put the game away.

“Brooke kind of pushed us out from what we wanted to do, which was go to the basket, especially early,” said Red Rider coach Rick Stead, whose club evened it’s record at 3-3. “But, we still made some good passes and catches, got some looks and were able to pull away.”

The winless Bruins kept things close but never were able to get the lead. They fell behind, 7-0, in the first four minutes of the game but clawed their way back into it and were down 11-9 after one quarter. They got the first hoop to open the second quarter from Lydia Buchmelter and then tied it again at 13-13 when sophomore Emilee Knorr came off the bench to pop a jumper.

However, the Bruins had difficulty scoring after that, and Weir High went to the locker room at the half ahead 25-15. The teams battled evenly through the third period with each scoring 10 points, but the Red Riders were able to outscore Brooke, 14-5, in the fourth to pull away.

“Offensively, we’ve struggled so far this year, and we continue to build and continue to try to improve it,” Brooke head coach Amy Serevicz said. “I told them in the locker room, until we get shots to fall, we’re not going to win games. We played pretty good defense until the fourth quarter. I switched to a zone in the fourth quarter because it seemed the players were getting tired, and we got lost. That happens.”

The Bruins are playing without senior Ashley Arca and freshman Bailey Serevicz, the coach’s daughter. Arca tore her ACL early last year and hasn’t recovered enough to play yet this year. Serevicz also is out with a knee injury.

However, coach Serevicz got good play from 6-foot freshman Ava Bolen, who led the Bruins with eight rebounds, scored five points and had several blocked shots.

“My daughter is tall, too, and if she could play it would give us a pretty good tandem in the lane even though both are freshman,” coach Serevicz said. “They have played together since grade school.

“Knorr came off the bench and scored seven points. She got five of them in the fourth quarter or we would have been shut out that quarter.”

Buchmelter, a junior, also scored seven points for the Bruins, while sophomore Madison Platt had five.

Stead said he was concerned when the Bruins kept the game close through the first half and also when his girls went through times during the game when they had trouble putting the ball in the basket..

“I tried to emphasize to them that you have to maintain a constant level to separate themselves,” he said. “You let any team hang around, they will have a chance to creep in during the last minutes to beat you. That’s why when we were up 10 going into the last quarter, I told them that 10 isn’t enough. We had to push this out to get a comfortable lead so we could make sure we could get all the kids in the game.”

His words must have worked because the Red Riders went on a 10-0 run to start the period and built a 20-point lead with 2:51 left to play. Knorr halted the run with a jumper at 1:29 and then, 35 seconds later, drilled a three-pointer.

Freshman Sophia Aperfine came off the bench to score nine points for the Red Riders, while her sister, Isabella Aperfine, tallied six.

GAME NOTES

The Weir High reserves scored a season-high in points in the preliminary game, but it wasn’t enough. The Bruins won that game, 31-21. Freshman Angelina Lippoli, who scored four points in the varsity game, led the Bruins with nine points. Taylor Haught scored eight for the Red Riders.

UP NEXT

WEIR HIGH: After playing six games in the last 10 days, it will get a much-needed respite. Its next outing is in Moundsville on Wednesday against John Marshall, then at Catholic Central on Thursday. Stead’s crew doesn’t return home until Jan. 13 when it plays John Marshall a second time.

BROOKE: Will be back on the Wellness Center court Saturday against Bellaire. That game has a noon jayvee start.

Weir High 49, Brooke 30

Weir High 11-14-10-14 — 49

Brooke 9-6-10-5 — 30

WEIR HIGH (3-3): Mikula 8 2-2 20; Bernola 2 1-2 5; Hoover 0 0-0 0; Haught 0 0-0 0; I. Aperfine 3 0-3 6; S. Aperfine 4 0-0 9; Maley 2 1-4 5; Nutter 1 2-4 4. TOTALS: 20, 6-15: 49. 3-POINT GOALS: 3 (Mikula 2, S. Aperfine). REBOUNDS: 36 (Nutter 16). TURNOVERS: 8.

BROOKE (0-4): Platt 2 0-0 5; Buchmelter 2 3-6 7; J. Arca 0 0-4 0; Ryan 1 0-0 2; Lippoli 2 0-1 4; Orban 0 0-0 0; Knorr 3 0-0 7; Bolen 2 1-2 5. TOTALS: 12, 4-13: 30. 3-POINT GOALS: 2 (Platt, Knorr). REBOUNDS: 29 (Bolen 8). TURNOVERS: 17.

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