Oak Glen takes advantage of Weir High’s short preseason

PASSING AROUND — Oak Glen’s Jarrett Gittings passes to a teammate while Weir High’s Reed Reitter defends on Tuesday. (Joe Catullo)

NEW MANCHESTER — The Oak Glen boys basketball team opened the season like a bunch of angry, caged bears running and gunning its way to an 81-57 win over Hancock County-rival Weir High inside the Oak Glen Fieldhouse Tuesday night.

The Golden Bears unleashed a first-half offensive attack that buried the Red Riders early. It was a hole that coach Mike Granato’s out-manned club could not dig its way out of.

Weir High was without two key players, and Granato started three others who only had six practices because of playing on the Red Rider football team that went all the way to the semifinal round of the postseason.

“We were excited to play,” Oak Glen coach Jerry Everly said regarding his veteran ballclub. “We came out with a lot of effort and a lot of passion. I think if we play like that we’ll be successful.”

Oak Glen’s three-year starting center, Ethan Travis, was on fire coming out of the locker room. The 6-foot-4 senior scored his team’s first eight points and finished with a double-double (19 points and 11 rebounds).

“He led the way, and everyone else got into it,” Everly said. “We had four guys in double figures, and everyone played well.

“I was a nervous wreck coming into this first game. As a coach, you always think of the worst, thinking about all the things you maybe should have done differently. I just thought we played with a lot of heart and a lot of passion and got after it defensively.”

Everly’s anxiety eased quickly, as his club ran out to a 26-7 first quarter lead and led 46-26 at the half.

Granato’s team, though, settled down at halftime and opened with a 7-0 run to cut the Oak Glen lead down to 13 points, but it didn’t have the firepower to keep it going.

“We dug a hole early. They shot the basketball well,” Granato said. “They were on fire. They were primed and ready. We have to get our legs. But, I thought our kids stepped up tonight and played as hard as they possibly could play. We fell behind big, but they kept working and battling. The bottom line with this is that we’re not at a point where we can execute a lot of things because we haven’t been together long enough. If we’re playing this way in the middle of January, I’ll be concerned. But, my concern right now is getting into the gym, get into basketball condition and I think the other things will happen.”

Junior Tanner Mikula led the Red Rider offense with 15 points, including the team’s only two made 3-pointers. Another junior, Dakota Nutter, came off the bench to score 10 points.

“When you jump on a team like we did in the first half, there is a natural let down,” Everly said. “We missed some layups in that first half, and I think we need to work on our half court offense. We like to get out and run and shoot it and play hard defense. The kids love to play that way. It is fun to watch, but there will be a lot of times when we’ll need to execute better in the half court offense.”

Junior Zach Taylor backed up Travis with 16 points and senior Jarrett Gittings scored 12. Sophomore Gage Patterson came off the bench to score 11 points.

The Golden Bears play again next Tuesday, hosting Brooke. The Red Riders get right back into action Friday at Indian Creek.

GAME NOTES

¯ The Red Rider junior varsity squad defeated Oak Glen, 61-54. Tyler Kelly led Weir High with 16 points. Konner Allison led the Golden Bears with 15.

Oak Glen 81, Weir High 57

Weir High 7-19-18-13 — 57

Oak Glen 26-20-16-19 — 81

WEIR HIGH (0-1): Haught 2 1-2 9, Trupiano 0 1-3-1, McCoy 2 0-0 4, R. Reitter 3 0-0 6, Mikula 6 1-3 15, Buffington 1 3-4 5, Nutter 5 0-4 10, Gillette 2 3-4 7. TOTALS: 21, 13-26: 57. 3-POINTERS: 2 (Mikula 2); REBOUNDS: 31 (R. Reitter 8, Mikula 8); TURNOVERS: 18.

OAK GLEN (1-0): Wiley 1 2-2 4, Perez 2 0-0 4, Smith 4 0-0 8, Patterson 4 3-6 11, Gittings 3 5-7 12, Travis 6 5-8 19, Clark 2 0-0 4, Taylor 6 2-2 16, Mineard 2 0-1 3. TOTALS: 30, 16-26: 81. 3-POINTERS: 5 (Taylor 2, Travis 2, Gittings); REBOUNDS: 29 (Travis 11): TURNOVERS: 10.

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