CLAYSVILLE – The McGuffey High School girls’ basketball team entered this Section 5-AA matchup against Bentworth leading the section with a scoring average of 68.6 points per game, more than 26 more than the No. 2 team, Charleroi.
After what the Highlanders did to the Bearcats Thursday night, that gap will be getting larger.
The Highlanders played an uptempo, fast-paced style and cruised to a 90-38 victory over the Bearcats.
“It’s all the girls,” said McGuffey head coach Amanda Burchett. “They have completely bought into what we are trying to do, and when they get on a roll, it is tough to get them to slow down.”
Not only was the offense good, but the defense played a strong game, too.
The high point for Bentworth (1-2, 2-5) came with a 2-0 lead on a layup by Reilly Skerbetz. Within seconds, McGuffey took control. The Highlanders’ trap forced five consecutive Bearcats’ turnovers, which they converted into 10 quick transition points. That was a scenario that would play out through the game..
“That’s what we want to do at the defensive end,” said Burchett. “We want to set the tone from the beginning of the game. We like to come after the ball hard and force turnovers. That’s something we worked really hard at this summer and again, the girls have bought into what we are trying to do.”
McGuffey (2-0, 5-1) forced more than double the amount of turnovers than they allowed field goals and converted them into easy baskets.
Sisters Sammie and Cassie Weiss made the Bearcats pay for their mistakes. Sammie Weiss scored the Highlanders first eight points and had 17 of her game-high 25 points in the first half as McGuffey took a 60-26 halftime lead.
“I think I played well,” said Sammie Weiss. “When we play fast like that, it seems like I get the ball and get some chances. I missed a lot of foul shots, but I got off to a good start and was able to keep it going.”
After Sammie Weiss’s strong first quarter that pushed the Highlanders to a 27-15 lead, Cassie Weiss scored 14 of her 22 points in the second.
“I played well,” said Cassie Weiss. “But the good thing is that when we are all on the same page and know what we are doing, then everyone gets involved.”
In addition to the Weiss sisters, Abby Patterson, with 14 points, and Rachel Czulewicz, with 13, each scored in double-figures.
Eight different Highlanders found their way into the scoring column. Bentworth was led by Taylor Pompei’s 12 points.
“We may be a bit undersized, but we try to keep a good inside-outside balance,” said Burchett. “The great thing is that these girls all get along great off the court, so that makes them very easy to coach.”
It was a tough loss for Bentworth head coach Stacy Skerbetz, who has a young team.
“I’m not used to that,” said Skerbetz. “Usually, I have a veteran team, so this is almost like starting over with only one returning starter. But with so little varsity experience, their trap gave us a difficult time. The thing is that McGuffey is so intense and plays hard from the opening tip to the final buzzer. That’s the way we need to play. We have to learn to play hard like that. Sometimes we are just out there playing. When you do that to a team like McGuffey, this is going to happen.”