WEIRTON - Steubenville Catholic Central girls basketball coach Tom Winland pointed to his girls fighting hard the full 32 minutes of the game for their 39-37 win over Weir High on Tuesday in the Carl Hamill Fieldhouse.
The Crusaders jumped out to an early lead and hung on as Weir High got a last-second close-in shot that missed the mark as the final buzzer sounded to win their fifth game of the season.
Weir High defeated the Crusaders handily on Dec. 16 by a score of 56-27.
TO THE HOOP — Catholic Central’s Michaela Torrence passes over Weir High’s Ashlyn Drizake on Tuesday. The Crusaders won 39-37 in the Carl Hamill Fieldhouse.
-- Matthew Peaslee
"The first time we played they did a nice job of attacking us," Winland said. "Our fight this time was a lot different because we kept coming. Whatever they brought at us we took it, we withheld it and we responded.
"In the past, we may not have responded so our fight, character and heart was tremendous tonight."
The Crusaders (5-10) jumped out to a 16-9 first quarter lead and were never behind.
The Red Riders made a valiant fourth quarter effort and tied the game at 32 on a Maddie Dalrymple layup with 4:26 remaining in the game.
Like Winland said, his Crusaders responded as Lauren Hunt hit a short jumper in the paint just 10 seconds later. That was followed on the Lady Crusader's next possession with a Micca Mirabella jumper extending the Central lead back to the four points it started the fourth quarter with.
Weir High senior Alyssa Shingle, the leading scorer for the Red Riders (2-9), had a cold shooting night, but she finally canned a three with 54 seconds left to bring the Lady Riders to within one at 38-37.
Ten seconds later, Hunt was fouled and made the front end of the foul line opportunity, but missed the bonus.
After Mirabella missed a free throw with 20 seconds left, the Lady Red Riders ran the clock down, but missed a shot. Shingle was fouled with one second remaining on the clock. That was only the fourth Crusader foul of the second half so Shingle didn't get a chance to tie the game from the free throw stripe, but the Red Riders had the ball out of bounds under their own basket.
Red Rider coach Bill Smith called a time out to set up a play that had junior Reagan Stead inbounding the basketball. She lofted it high to Dalrymple, the tallest player on the floor, but the senior's shot, which would have tied the game, didn't go down.
Smith didn't feel that his team played with confidence.
"When we come out and make shots early, we play with a lot more confidence than you saw tonight," he said. "We don't have that much firepower to get down like we did in the first quarter and get back into the game.
"There are going to be nights when you don't shoot well. You have to expect that every now and then, but there's no reason for us to play defense like we played defense tonight. They got a lot of easy shots.
"To play good defense, each player has to get where they are supposed to be on the floor. When you have four people playing hard and one not getting her assignment you end up giving up easy buckets."
The Lady Red Riders had two more field goals than the Crusaders (16-14), but made nine of 19 from the free throw line to just three of six for the Riders.
Winland, who has only one senior on his squad, said his Crusaders have been showing signs of playing more aggressively, but he pointed to the inexperienced youth of his team for the inconsistency (12 of the 15 on the roaster are either freshmen or sophomores).
"We've been shooting the ball better lately," he said. "We did a lot of work on shooting over the Christmas break and it is starting to show. We're just going to continue to keep working on our shooting and hopefully it will help us in these types of situations."
Mirabella, the lone senior, scored 12 points to lead all scorers in the game, but sophomore Hannah Ondos pounded the backboards and wound up with a double-double (11 points and 10 rebounds). Ondos was 7 of 12 from the free throw line.
Stead's 11 points led the Riders. Shingle added nine.
Weir High returns to action Thursday hosting Madonna in the annual City Championship game while the Crusaders will host Wheeling Park next Monday.
Steubenville Catholic Central 39, Weir 37
Catholic Central 16 8 6 9 39
Weir High 9 8 9 11 37
CATHOLIC CENTRAL (5-10): Torrence 1 0-0 2, Parkinson 2 0-0 6, Mirabella 6 0-3 12, McComb 1 1-2 3, Hunt 2 1-2 5, Ondos 2 7-12 11. TOTALS: 14 9-19 39. 3-pointers, Parkinson (2); Rebounds, 23 (Ondos, 10); Turnovers: 16.
WEIR HIGH (2-9): Wolverton 2 0-0 4, Stead 4 2-4 11, Shingle 4 0-0 9, Drizake 3 1-2 7, Dalrymple 2 0-0 4, Robinson 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 16 3-6 37. 3-pointers: Stead, Shingle; Rebounds, 17 (Drizake, 7); Turnovers: 11.