Brooke breezes by Red Riders

WELLSBURG – We all know the story of David and Goliath and how the underdog (David) slew the giant.

It didn’t work out so well for the underdog Friday night at the Brooke Wellness Center as Brooke ripped Weir High 78-37 in boys basketball.

Brooke’s pressure defense early in the game set the tone and by halftime, the Red Riders had more turnovers (20) than points (13). The Bruins had the intermission lead, 46-13.

“I thought our pressure in the first half was good,” said veteran Bruin coach Dave Reitter. “The kids adjusted to what Weir High was doing as Mike (Granato, Red Rider coach) had his team ready to break the press.”

Going into the game without three players that were starters when the season opened, Granato was forced to play sophomores and freshmen especially when foul trouble began to mount early in the third period.

“We spent a lot of time on press offense in practice the past few days,” said Granato, whose team now is 1-8. “The thing is we can’t simulate in practice what Brooke does in speed and strength. It wasn’t a surprise. We knew what they were going to do and we tried to make adjustments, but a lot of our problems are problems in terms of youth.

Russell Schwertfeger, who has led the Bruins scoring through most of the 11 previous games they’ve played this year, finished with 10 points along with several assists and a couple of steals.

In this game, it was Anthony Barnhart, a 6-2 senior, who led the Bruin offense as he came off the bench to score a career high 21 points.

“I told Barnhart yesterday in practice that the reason he is coming off the bench is because he’s giving us a lift,” said Reitter. “He came off the bench today and gave us some rebounds and points. The reason he’s there is because he’s someone that can do something like that to pick us up when we’re struggling.

“Everybody has to find his role and accept it and doing the best of their ability. When they all do that we become a much better team.”

Brooke had three other players in double figures. Besides Schwertfger, the two big sophomores inside, Nathan Green at 6-6 and Thomas Cole at 6-5 each scored 10 points and Green joined Schwertfeger in leading all rebounders with six each.

“That’s a good, solid triple-A team,” Granato continued. “Our level of competition is our level of competition right now. We have to step up to it. As long as I’m the coach, we’re going to play good teams. That’s the only way you get better.”

The Weir High scoring was led by junior Michael Curtis, who tossed in 9 points. Freshman Chayton Luevano scored eight and senior Mitch Viakley, who fouled out with 3:31 showing on the third period clock, chipped in with seven.

The Red Riders jump right back onto the hardwood tonight at home hosting Edison while the Bruins won’t play again till next Tuesday when Oak Glen comes to the Wellness Center.