Oak Glen opens with win


NEW MANCHESTER, W.Va. — The Oak Glen girls basketball team jumped out to an early lead and were never threatened as it pocketed a 61-43 opening-season win Tuesday night at the Golden Bear Fieldhouse.

The victory marked the first win at Oak Glen for new head coach John Leary and he said after the game that he was very pleased with the way his new team played.

“They did all the stuff that we’ve been working on in the preseason really well,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t know if that is going to happen. We want to push the ball and run as much as we can and they showed that they have bought into that and did what we wanted them to do.

“Looking at the balanced scoring we had, it showed that we are team oriented and I love that.”

The young Red Riders also played at a fast pace, but showed some inexperience by rushing shots and being a little out of control at times especially in the first half.

“There’s no doubt that we played like it was the first game of the season,” said second-year coach, Rick Stead. “I thought we settled down a little bit more in the second half.”

Leary said he installed the special offense, designed to slow down Weir High’s Bailey Stead, the leading scorer returning from a year ago. Stead, a junior, finished with a team high 16 points making three treys and seven of eight free throws. Sophomore Julia Gianni scored nine points including five of six from the foul line. Sophomore Gia Fuscardo, who transferred from Madonna, scored seven points.

“That really was a diamond and one that we put in the last couple of days of practice,” said Leary, whose club held the Red Riders to just six first quarter points. “I was pleased with the nice job of defense we had. That defense accomplished the goal we wanted, which was to disrupt Weir High early.

“Sometimes when you do that, especially without a lot of practice, it can backfire and it has at other places I’ve coached, but when it works it really can get your team going.”

All of Leary’s five starters scored eight points or more with seniors Maisie Witherow and Amber Grotefend leading the way with 15 and 13 points, respectively. Both of those girls also led the Golden Bears in rebounding with seven apiece.

“I thought our team play showed up with Masie, who is the leading scorer from last year and one of our leaders,” said Leary, who was head boys basketball coach at Toronto last year. “She was out there passing the ball to the open girl and was not selfish.”

Kovalcik is a sophomore and she and McKay each scored nine points while Emmy Severs, a junior, chipped in eight in the balanced Oak Glen offense.

The Golden Bears play again Thursday at John Marshall in what Leary said will be a good test for his club. The Red Riders will host East Fairmont Friday.

Oak Glen 61, Weir High 43

WEIR HIGH: 6-10-10-17–43

OAK GLEN: 15-18-14-14–61

WEIR HIGH (0-1): Farran 1 1-2 4, Stead 3 7-8 16, Fuscardo 3 0-2 7, Gianni 2 5-6 9, Vuiller 1 1-2 3, DiLullo 2 0-0 4. TOTALS: 12 14-20 43. Three-pointers: Stead 3, Farran and Fuscardo.

OAK GLEN (1-0): Kovalcik 4 1-2 9, McKay 4 1-2 9, Severs 3 2-2 8, Witherow 6 3-7 15, Grotefend 5 3-5 13, Orenzuk 1 0-0 2, Beaver 2 1-2 5. 25 11-20 61.