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Weir gets third win over Oak Glen to advance

REBOUNDING — Weir High’s Leah Maley secures a rebound in front of Oak Glen’s Madison McKay during Saturday’s sectional contest at the Carl R. Hamill Fieldhouse. Also shown are Weir High’s Taylor Nutter and Sophia Mikula and Oak Glen’s Reece Enochs. - Andrew Grimm

WEIRTON — The Weir High girls basketball team advanced to the semi-final round of the Region 1, Section 2 tournament Saturday afternoon with a 52-42 victory over arch rival Oak Glen in the play-in game inside the Carl R. Hamill Fieldhouse.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Rick Stead’s club, which will travel Tuesday to play at North Marion, the top seeded team in Region 1 and top team in West Virginia Class AA girls basketball.

The Red Riders utilized superior speed and height advantage in the paint to capture a third win over their rivals this season.

“I thought we played very well in the first half but in the second half we got away from some of the things we wanted to do,” said Stead, whose club now is 12-11. “Scott (Wiley) had his girls very well prepared and when he shifted to a man defense in the second half it kind of threw us off a little bit.”

Oak Glen outscored the Red Riders 29-24 in the second half, but were unable to keep up with Weir High’s torrid pace and went into halftime trailing 28-13.

“We tried to come back in the second half, but we just couldn’t get the ball in the hole,” Wiley said. “They just kept fast breaking us and we couldn’t get back to stop them. We could see those things on the bench, but they couldn’t see it on the floor. We tried to get back, but coach Stead’s team likes to run and we have trouble with that. They did a nice job.”

Oak Glen had the lead through the first four minutes of the opening quarter, but the Red Riders went on a 12-0 run to win the first eight minutes 16-6. It was more of the same in the second quarter with Weir High outscoring the Golden Bears 8-2 through the first five minutes of the period.

Oak Glen, which wrapped up the season with a winning record at 12-11, outscored the Riders by one point in the third period and went into the final eight minutes down 14 points at 40-26.

The closest the Bears could get in the fourth quarter was eight points when sophomore Maddie McKay knocked down a three-pointer with 16 seconds left on the clock. Weir High’s Taylor Nutter, who dominated the rebounding with 12 caroms (half of them on the offensive end) made a layup with six seconds left for the final margin.

“They are stronger than us,” Wiley admitted. “That rebound they got there at the end and put back up showed that very well. We have to get on the weights during the off season. Their bigs did a nice job. We would get set underneath the bucket and they would be right there for the rebound.

“But I’m very proud of our season. We have a winning record for the first time in a few years, so we think we’re really building something. I appreciate my two seniors, Brittney Giorgini and Alexa Andrews, but we have some young players that got some playing time this year. I hope they will take basketball serious in the off season and work hard to continue to improve.”

Junior Reece Enochs drained three long bombs and led the Golden Bears with 14 points. Giorgini followed with nine and McKay scored eight.

“We got away from what we wanted to do in the second half,” said Stead. “It likely was because of their switch to man defense in the second half, but I give our kids credit because we played down at Fairmont Senior on Thursday (a 70-45 loss) and then had to come right back here with only a one-day rest.”

Junior Isabella Aperfine led the Weir High offense with 14 points. Senior Sophia Mikula followed with 10 while freshman Reagan Hoover and junior Leah Maley scored eight apiece.

GAME NOTES

¯Stead’s starting lineup had just one senior, Mikula. He went with three juniors and a freshman, Sophia Aperfine, while another freshman, Hoover, saw considerable playing time as the sixth girl.

¯ The North Marion Lady Huskies beat Weir High by nine points 61-52 at the Hamill Fieldhouse. It was the season opener for the Huskies and Weir High’s third game.

“We saw North Marion early in the season this year so we kind of know what to prepare for, Stead said after the game. “We’re going to go down there and give it our best shot and see what happens. Hopefully, we can steal one and surprise some people.”

¯ Region 1 is comprised of 11 Class AA schools. They are in order of seeding by votes of the respective coaches: North Marion, Frankfort, Fairmont Senior, Petersburg, Grafton, Keyser, East Fairmont, Weir High, Phillip Barbour, Oak Glen and Berkley Springs.

Weir High and Oak Glen are in Section 2 along with North Marion, Fairmont Senior and East Fairmont, who are seeded in that order. The other schools are in Section 1. Fairmont Senior will host East Fairmont in the other semi-final final game in Section 2, also Tuesday.

The Section 2 championship game will be held Friday, February 28 at the school with the higher seed. Then, the champions of both sections will clash Thursday, March 5 for the Region 1 title but both of those teams will advance to the state tournament in Charleston.

Weir High 52, Oak Glen 42

Oak Glen 6-7-13-16 – 42

Weir High 16-12-12-12 – 52

OAK GLEN (12-11): Giorini 4 0-0 9; Enochs 5 1-5 14; Andrews 1 4-6 6; McNutt 1 0-0 2; McKay 3 1-6 8; Kranis 1 0-0 2; Arner 0 1-2 1. TOTALS: 15 7-19 42. 3-pointers: 5 (Enochs 3, Giorgini, McKay ); Rebounds: 25 (Andrews 8); Turnovers: 24.

WEIR HIGH (12-11): Mikula 5 2-4 10; Hoover 4 0-2 8; I. Aperfine 7 0-0 14; S. Aperfine 3 0-0 6; Maley 4 0-0 8; Nutter 3 0-0 6. TOTALS: 26 0-6 52. Rebounds: 37 (Nutter 12); Turnovers: 15.

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