WEIRTON - The Big Red girls basketball team came from seven points down Monday night to keep its record unblemished with a 57-48 victory over Weir High at the Carl R. Hamill Fieldhouse.
Going into the game, Steubenville coach Phil Casinelli was concerned about how his players would react playing their first road game and especially against what he considered a good team despite the Lady Red Riders' winless record.
"You never know what can happen on the road and Weir High has four girls who have started at least two years," said Casinelli. "Our girls, all eight who got in, fought through a lot of adversity tonight. We were tested tonight. We knew going in it would be struggle."
LOOKING TOWARD THE BASKET — Big Red’s Taylor Young looks for a teammate during Monday’s 57-48 road win at Weir High. - Fred Younce
On the other side, veteran Red Rider coach, Bill Smith, whose team still is looking for its first win after five games, felt the Lady Red Riders may have run out of gas in the fourth quarter after battling through three quarters of nip-and-tuck basketball.
"I thought we played great basketball for three quarters," he said. "We got a little tired going down the stretch and made some mistakes defensively. We rebounded tonight and ran up and down the floor like I want to do all the time. It's a work in progress."
With sophomore Reagan Stead scoring 16 of her team-high and career-high 19 points, the Lady Red Riders went into the fourth quarter with a one point lead at 28-27.
When junior Alyssa Shingle hit the second three-pointer with 1:57 left in the third period, the Red Riders had their biggest lead of the night at 38-31. However, Big Red scored six unanswered points with junior Emiley Masloski swishing back-to-back threes to narrow the gap to the one-point margin.
"We went to the 1-3-1 zone defense in the second half and that seemed to confuse Big Red, especially in the third quarter," Smith explained. "What we really need to do is play better defensively, especially boxing out."
Big Red's Brittany Bodo opened the fourth quarter scoring with a layup to retrieve the lead for her team, a lead that shifted back and fourth three times until Masloski made two field goals in a row. On her second goal with 3:41 left in the game, Masloski stole the ball at the Weir High foul line and raced coast to coast for the layup that armed Big Red with a 45-42 lead.
Masloski, who finished with a game-high 26 points, made seven of eight free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
However, perhaps the key shot of the game was a three-pointer by junior Taylor Young from deep in the right corner with 1:19 left that lengthened the Big Red lead to six points.
"Taylor Young is a tough girl and that was a big time shot," Casinelli said. "As coaches, we're saying no, no, no in that situation, but she has confidence and we want that in our girls. She knocked it down and that was a big shot."
Casinelli said he made a couple of changes at halftime.
"We didn't want them to continue to leak out for easy transition baskets like they had in the first half so we kept two girls back instead of one.
"And Stead was on fire in the first half so we wanted to deny her the ball as much as possible. I thought we did a lot better job on defense in the second half."
Casinelli said he had a lot of girls help out in different ways. He pointed out that senior Dana Poole came off the bench and hauled down a game-high 12 rebounds and sophomore Dominique Wilson also came off the bench to do a good job defending against Shingle going down the stretch.
"We had a lot of girls contribute in different ways and that's why I say it was a total team effort," Casinelli concluded.
Big Red enjoyed a balance scoring attack with seven girls getting points. Junior Mytia Baker was the only other Big Red player in double figures. She had 11 points and also pulled in eight off the glass. Big Red out rebounded the Red Riders 37-26.
Shingle finished with 11 points for Weir High. Senior Shelva Burns scored 10 points and, with Kayla Lemley and Raven Young, pulled down seven rebounds.
Weir High will attempt to get that elusive first win Saturday, entertaining Magnolia with a noon reserve game start. Meanwhile, Big Red will try to keep the winning streak going Wednesday when Steubenville Central invades the Crimson Center for a battle of city rivals.
Big Red 57, Weir High 48
Steubenville 13 13 11 20 - 57
Weir High 13 12 13 10 - 48
BIG RED: E. Masloski 6 12-14 26, H. Masloski 0 2-2 2, Young 2 2-2 8, Poole 1 0-0 2, Wilson 1 0-0 2, Baker 5 1-5 11, Bodo 3 0-2 6. Totals: 18 17-25 57. Three-pointers: E. Masloski (2), Young (2); Rebounds: 37 (Poole 12); Turnovers 4.
WEIR HIGH: Young 1 2-3 4, Stead 8 2-2 19, Shingle 4 1-2 11, Lemley 1 0-0 2, Burns 5 0-0 10, Dalrymple 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 5-7 48. Three-pointers: Shingle (2), Stead (1); Rebounds: 26 (Burns, Lemley, Young, 7 each); Turnovers: 10.