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Red Riders explode in second half to down Wildcats, 53-40

DRIVING BY — Weir High’s Skyler Jackson drives to the lane with Edison’s Gage Cline, Alec McBane and Jayden Sanders closing in on Tuesday. -Joe Catullo

WEIRTON — Weir High put together a strong second half, enabling it to celebrate senior night with a 53-40 victory over Edison Tuesday inside the Carl R. Hamill Fieldhouse.

The Red Riders came back after trailing by two at the end of the first eight minutes to take a slim 20-17 lead at halftime. The Riders had a 9-0 run in that second quarter and came out of the locker room in the third with a pressure defense that caused the Wildcats to have 12 second-half turnovers.

“I thought we had a lack of energy in the first half,” said veteran Red Rider coach Mike Granato, whose club now is 10-4 and has won eight of its last nine games. “I’m not one to make excuses, but I think a lot of that is from the sickness that has plagued Weir High students in recent days. We have seven seniors, and it is a shame that Drew Curtis had to miss this game and senior night. He is a very sick young man right now.

“We played like we practiced yesterday (Monday), and that was the worst practice we’ve had all year. We came out and weren’t playing the way we are capable of playing. And, Edison came out with an excellent game plan and did a great job of controlling the tempo through that first half.”

Edison coach Nate Moses said his club continues to look for consistency as it struggles with a 4-13 record.

“It just seems like with every team on our schedule, we aren’t consistent,” he said. “When you’re consistently good or consistently bad, you understand, but when you’re really inconsistent playing very good at times and then very bad at times, that’s the struggle we’re having this season.

“We’re not shooting the ball well, and it is frustrating because we’re getting the looks and the kids that are capable of making those shots are getting them, but they aren’t falling. We just have to keep shooting. They can’t put their heads down. We talk about consistency, but it’s also confidence. Right now, some of our kids are lacking that confidence you need to make those shots.”

The Wildcats weathered a mini run by the Red Riders to open the third quarter and sliced what had been a 25-17 lead down to four points at 27-23. The Red Riders, though, outscored Edison, 10-6, to close the third period and slowly extended the lead in the final eight minutes. The Red Riders made 7 of 9 foul shots in the fourth quarter and were 13 of 19 overall.

Granato said that was the best foul shooting by his team all season.

Tanner Mikula, who has picked up his scoring touch of late, led the Red Riders with 12 points. Elijah Gillette was close behind with 11, and Brodie McUmar tossed nine points through the hoops.

“We talked at halftime about getting that tempo stepped up and more to our liking, and I thought in the second half we did that,” Granato said. “We were able to go on a couple of runs that extended the lead a little bit, and I thought our bench really got into their legs a little bit. We got into transition better with some steals, and we started shooting and finishing layups. We missed a bunch of layups in the first quarter.”

Steady Alec McBane topped the Wildcat scorers with a game-high 13 points. Noah Woods followed with eight.

The Wildcats controlled the backboards through most the game with a 28-16 advantage. Freshman Gage Cline corralled seven missed shots, and senior Andrew Pugh grabbed six off the glass.

Elijah Gillette led Weir High with five rebounds, three steals and a couple of assists.

GAME NOTES

¯ The Red Riders won the jayvee game, which was shortened to two quarters, by a score of 33-10 with Charlie Zagula scoring eight points. Cole Jackson led the Wildcats with four points.

¯ The seven Weir High seniors honored were Sebastian Spencer, McUmar, Gillette, Skylar Jackson, Curtis, Dakota Nutter and Mikula. Senior night used to be held prior to the final home game of the season, but that changed several years ago when snow forced a cancellation. That resulted in Weir High having senior night prior to a sectional tournament game, and the WVSSAC frowned upon that. So, honoring the seniors now is a little earlier in the season in case the game has to be canceled and the special night moved.

¯ The final score of the game was very similar to the first time the teams played at Edison. That night the score was 56-40 with Weir High on top in that one, too.

UP NEXT

Edison: Hosts Harrison Central at noon on Saturday.

Weir High: Returns to action Thursday in the second game of a girls/boys varsity doubleheader at the Crimson Center inside Steubenville High School. The Red Rider girls play Big Red in the first game starting at 5:30 p.m., with the boys game to follow.

Weir High 53, Edison 40

Edison 10-7-12-11 — 40

Weir High 8-12-17-16 — 53

EDISON (4-13): Woods 4 0-0 8; Connelly 0 2-2 2; Sanders 1 0-0 2; Moses 1 0-0 2; Cline 3 1-3 7; Hanchin 0 1-2 1; McBane 3 6-9 13; Pugh 2 0-0 5. TOTALS: 14, 10-16: 40. 3-POINT GOALS: 2 (McBane, Pugh). REBOUNDS: 28 (Cline 7, Pugh 6). TURNOVERS: 19.

WEIR HIGH (10-4): Spencer 0 0-0 0; McUmar 3 1-1 9; Reitter 0 0-0 0; Gillette 3 5-6 11; Cross 2 3-4 7; Jackson 1 0-0 2; Nosko 2 0-3 4; Kelly 0 2-2 2; Nutter 2 2-3 6; Mikula 5 0-0 12. TOTALS: 18, 13-19: 53. 3-POINT GOALS: 4 (McUmar 2, Mikula 2). REBOUNDS: 16 (Gillette 5). TURNOVERS: 9.

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