Strong defensive effort lifts Weir High over Edison
RICHMOND — Veteran Weir High boys basketball head coach Mike Granato knows his team has to focus on defense if it is going to have success.
It did on Tuesday night, using strong defense and a couple of key scoring runs to pull away from Edison for a 56-40 road victory.
“I was real happy with our team defense,” Granato said. “The kids listened, and they really took to heart what we wanted them to do. They really bought in. For our team, when our team defense becomes our offense, that is when we think we’ll be a pretty good team. The focus for us every night has to be defense.”
The Red Riders (6-3) held Edison to just a pair of made free throws in the first quarter, setting the defensive tone early.
“In the first half, that was about as solid of execution of our defensive game plan as we have had,” Granato said. “The kids did an excellent job.”
Then, after the Wildcats (4-9) stormed back and took a 12-10 lead with a 10-2 run early in the second quarter, Granato’s bunch closed the half on a 15-3 run that changed the game completely, putting the Red Riders on top, 25-15, at halftime.
They never surrendered the lead again.
“That was a major point in the game,” Granato said. “I think that was the turning point of the game because we came into the locker room with the momentum. Our kids on the bench got into how the guys were defending on the floor, and when the kids got into it, our fans got into it, and it created a pretty good atmosphere.”
Edison head coach Nate Moses agreed that stretch made the difference.
“It was a game of runs,” he said. “When you get into a game like that and you’re not shooting the ball well, you have to find other avenues to generate points. And, unfortunately, Weir did a better job of that.
“That run was huge. We go up 12-10, then go on a 15-3 run. I thought that was the key to game. We were up and had the momentum after scoring two points in the first quarter. That run was the difference in the game.”
Weir High continued the momentum out of the break, scoring the first five points before opening up a 17-point lead.
Edison, though, was not going to go away without a battle, as the Wildcats slowly clawed to within single digits. Tremendous West drained a 3-pointer right at the third-quarter buzzer to make it 39-30.
The Wildcats got to within eight with about three minutes to play, but that was as close as it would get. The Red Riders made foul shots down the stretch to win by 16.
“We talked about it after the game. We jumped out to a big lead in the beginning of the game, and we jumped out to a big lead at halftime,” Granato said. “We let them get back in it, but I think that is a credit to Nate and his kids. It wasn’t something that we did wrong, it’s something they did right. They made some shots and came back at us.
“That has been the type of game we have played here forever it seems like. We always play games that go up and down and a lot of games that end up in overtime. It’s a tough place to win, and I’m real happy with it.”
Weir High’s efforts were led by Elijah Gillette with 14 points. Sebastian Spencer followed with 10 points, while Anthony Cross netted a pair of 3-pointers to finish with nine points.
All in all, eight of the 11 players to see the floor for Granato contributed to the scoring column.
For Edison, Andrew Pugh collected a game-high 15 points, while Alec McBane finished with 12 points.
“I felt like it wasn’t anything they were doing, I just felt like we didn’t have a very good shooting night,” Moses said. “They played hard, we played hard, it was a pretty good basketball game. It was a great atmosphere, I love it when this place is packed. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t give them a better show.”
Weir High made it a sweep with a 24-15 win in a two quarter jayvee contest. Mason Fierro led the Red Riders with seven points, while Blake Connelly had seven points for Edison.
Weir High: Faces Brooke at home Friday night.
Edison: Hosts Beaver Local Friday night in Buckeye 8 Conference play.
(Grimm can be reached at email@example.com)
Weir High 56, Edison 40
Weir High 8-17-14-17 – 56
Edison 2-13-15-10 – 40
WEIR HIGH (6-3): Spencer 4 2-3 10; McUmar 0 4-4 4; Gillette 5 3-4 14; Nutter 1 2-4 4; Mikula 2 2-3 7; Cross 3 1-4 9; Kelly 0 0-2 0; Nosko 0 0-0 0; Reitter 0 0-0 0; Curtis 3 0-0 6; Jackson 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 19 14-24 56.
EDISON (4-9): Woods 1 0-2 2; Mayle 0 0-0 0; West 2 2-2 7; Sanders 1 0-0 2; Moses 1 0-1 2; McBane 3 6-12 12; Pugh 3 8-11 15. TOTALS: 11 16-28 40.
3-POINT GOALS: Weir High 4 (Cross 2, Gillette, Mikula); Edison 2 (West, Pugh).