Name: Sammie Weiss
Weiss’ week: Weiss scored 43 points in wins over Washington and South Side Beaver, the former helping the Highlanders secure the Section 5-AA title, McGuffey’s first section championship since 1990.
“I was very happy,” Weiss said. “I felt proud of me, my team and my coaches because we actually did it, and we can say that we did that. We had support from the team from 1990; they came up and supported us. It was fun, and it was just amazing, pretty much, for me and everybody.”
Nearing a milestone: Though she’s only a sophomore, Weiss has 998 career points and will almost assuredly reach 1,000 during the opening few minutes of McGuffey’s first-round playoff game next Tuesday.
She’s averaging 27.5 points per game, which is four-plus points better than anyone else in Washington or Greene counties, male or female.
“She’s been playing really well,” McGuffey coach Amanda Burchett said. “I think a lot of teams now have kind picked up and tried to box-and-one her, double-team her, even triple-team her. We’ve really had to have other kids step up the past couple of weeks. She’s handled it very well, though.
“When we played Wash High, they used a box-and-one and double-teamed her, and she still scored. South Side Beaver, same thing. They were throwing two or three defenders at her, and she still had 20.”
‘An amazing night’: The night that McGuffey topped Wash High, 51-36, to clinch that section title, several other schools canceled games because of bad weather. But the Highlanders packed their gymnasium and even took the floor last as part of a boys-girls doubleheader.
Several members of that 1990 team came to cheer this year’s group, though McGuffey was nearly undone by turnovers and untimely mistakes.
Rachel Czulewicz made two free throws with 38 seconds remaining, and Weiss, who had 13 rebounds, tacked on one down the stretch.
It was a far cry from the Highlanders’ other 11 section wins, yet satisfying nonetheless.
“It was an amazing night,” Burchett said. “There were so many people there from the school, from the community, administrators, things like that. I think it meant more to the girls because we had to come together as a team.”
Growing up: Weiss still doesn’t like talking about herself, as described in an Observer-Reporter feature done earlier this season.
But she has gotten better. And no matter what, she’s been a solid leader with her offense and defense for McGuffey, which earned the No. 6 seed in the playoffs and will play the winner of Friday’s game between Riverside and Springdale.
“Just her desire to be better, wanting to go out there and help her team,” Burchett said of the strides Weiss has made. “Last year, I think she was a little tentative, but she was a freshman. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a 14-year-old girl. I think this year she’s taken her own role on the team. She’s been more of a leader – maybe not verbally – but on the court you can always depend on her to go out and do her job, to help out her teammates and be a better player.”
– Compiled by Jason Mackey