WEIRTON - Harrison Central ran off 15 consecutive first-quarter points to grab a big lead and cruise to a 63-28 victory over Weir High Saturday.
Red Rider Michael Curtis got the initial bucket of the contest on a baby hook in the line. After that, it was the Fletcher Watt show.
The senior guard nailed three of his first four shots (two coming from behind the arc) to key the Huskie scoring burst. He finished with nine first period points.
During the opening stanza, Justin Clifford's crew scorched the nets inside the Carl Hamill Field House, knocking down 50 percent of its shots. Weir, on the other hand, struggled making just one of 11.
The visitors upped their advantage to 35-11 at the intermission, again shooting 50 percent (in the second quarter, they were eight for 16). Watt added five more markers and assisted on two of Rashaen Mitchell's four hoops.
"When you can hold a team to two points in a quarter and 11 in a half, you give yourselves a chance," Clifford said. "Anyone that has seen us play knows we always give ourselves a chance on the defensive end. Tonight, the shots were going in. We look a lot better on the offensive end when that happens."
Harrison Central 63, Weir High 28
H.C. 15 20 12 16 - 63
Weir 2 9 9 8 - 28
HARRISON CENTRAL (12-4): K. Mitchell 3 0-0 6; Kowalski 1 3-4 6; Yoho 0 0-0 0; B/ Mitchell 0 0-0 0; Rutter 1 0-0 2; Watt 5 1-2 14; Reddish 0 0-2 0; Evans 1 0-0 2; Johnson 0 0-0 0; R. Mitchell 8 0-0 16; Olmstead 2 1-2 7; Pelegreen 3 0-1 6; Mizer 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 26 5-11 63. 3-pointers: Watt (3), Olmstead (2); Rebounds: 42 (Pelegreen 12, R. Mitchell 10); Turnovers: 8.
WEIR HIGH (1-12): Masters 0 0-0 0; Knight 0 0-0 0; Viakley 0 0-0 0; Wood 2 0-0 5; Davis 1 0-0 2; D. Cassiadoro 2 0-0 4; Groves 0 0-0 0; A. Cassiadoro 0 0-0 0; Sims 5 1-2 11; Curtis 1 1-2 3; West 1 1-2 3; Kirk 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 12 3-6 28. 3-pointers: Wood; Rebounds: 23 (Sims 10); Turnovers: 17.
For Weir's Mike Granato, the "frustrating part" of the first half was "we missed too many close shots."
"It was 15-2 and we called our second time out. I looked at one of my assistants and said we have missed six shots in the paint," he noted. "That's what you look at and it just steamrolls from there."
Harrison Central led 47-20 heading into the final eight minutes. During the third stanza, the Mitchell brothers (senior Rashaen and sophomore Kaleb) combined for 10 of the 12 Huskie points.
"Kaleb does the dirty work for us and Rashaen covers up so much with his athleticism and size on the defensive end (Rashaen Mitchell had three blocks)," Clifford pointed out.
"Rashaen's starting to put the ball in the hole for us. When he scores and Kaleb gets some buckets, it makes us hard to defend."
Rashaen Mitchell paced the Huskies in scoring with 16. He completed the double-double by grabbing 10 of Harrison Central's 42 rebounds (Nick Pelegreen led the winners with 12). Watt, who injured an ankle in the third quarter, finished with 14 and four assists.
"Mike asked me before the game if these guys are ever going to graduate," Clifford said of his three seniors (Watt, Rashaen Mitchell and Pelegreen).
"They've been around a while and they played well tonight.
"Fletcher's put his time in and we expect him to play a solid game."
Besides the outstanding rendition of the national anthem by middle school student Jake Curtis, the other bright spot for Weir was the play of 6-5 junior Andre Sims. He scored 11 points and hauled down 10 rebounds.
"He's a work in progress," Granato, who celebrated his birthday Saturday, noted. "Every game is a learning experience for him. He did some good things inside. He needs to keep squaring up inside and keep understanding that he can be a pretty good post player. If that happens, things will work out for him.
"We did a better job in the second half of getting the ball inside and making some shots. That's what we need to do for 32 minutes."
Harrison Central, now 12-4, will return to action Tuesday when it visits St. Clairsville. Weir, 1-12, will battle Big Red twice this week, visiting Steubenville Tuesday and hosting Mike Haney's cagers on Thursday.