McGuffey’s Chadwick shuts down Riverside’s top player in win

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DORMONT – Sam Chadwick had just one point during the McGuffey girls basketball team’s 53-38 win over Riverside in the first round of the WPIAL Class AA playoffs Tuesday at Keystone Oaks.


Not that it diminished her impact on the game.


Really didn’t matter how many points she scored.


Chadwick held Riverside senior Alex Deep, who had 29 points during a win over Springdale in the preliminary round last Friday, to four points after No. 6 seed McGuffey altered its defensive approach late in the second quarter.


The defensive shift into a box-and-one, with Chadwick isolated on Deep, helped the Highlanders (20-2) advance to the quarterfinals, where they’ll play No. 3 Burrell Friday, site and time to be determined.


“We put Sam Chadwick on (Deep) because she’s our top defender, and she shut her down,” McGuffey coach Amanda Burchett said. “She had her frustrated.”


No one can argue with that, though Chadwick, who draws this assignment a lot, has a unique way of defending the other team’s top player.


Shuffling her feet and taking away space are still paramount, but Chadwick also tells stories, offers compliments and starts conversation – anything that might detract from basketball.


“Sometimes, I’ll tell (the other player) that I like her hair or that she’s really good,” Chadwick explained. “Sometimes, I say her name, tell her I like her tan.


“I just try to annoy them as much as possible.”


Deep scored on a layup with 4:24 left in the second quarter to pull Riverside within six – and it turned out to be the closest the Panther would get all night.


Sophomore Sammie Weiss scored 13 of McGuffey’s 15 points in the third quarter and finished with a game-high 23 to eclipse the 1,000-point mark for her career.


“I started to go more into contact,” Weiss said of her third-quarter scoring binge. “I think I went more into contact, and my options opened up more.”


Cassie Weiss had 12 points, and Rachel Czulewicz added 11. Center Abby Pattison finished with six points and 10 rebounds. Chadwick, a 5-7 junior guard, added 11 rebounds.


Nicole Mansfield led Riverside (15-9) with 16 points and 12 rebounds.


Riverside coach John Wolfe could not be reached for comment after the game.


Riverside cut it to seven – the closest the Panthers got in the second half – early in the fourth quarter, but Cassie Weiss made a floater in the lane and Czulewicz scored on a layup to bump the lead back to double-digits.


“I think we had a really good team effort,” Burchett said. “We picked it up. We were nervous. This is the first playoff experience these girls have had. I think nerves in the beginning. We weren’t finishing some shots that we typically make. Then once we settled down and got into our rhythm, there really was no turning back for us.”


The first quarter featured plenty of action, with Weiss scoring her 1,000th point on a stop-and-pop jumper from the left wing.


Ahead 7-6, McGuffey closed the period on a 10-3 run that was jump-started by back-to-back three-pointers from Cassie Weiss and Czulewicz, who banked hers in from the left wing, prompting a Riverside timeout.


Pattison scored on a putback and a layup for the first and last baskets of the second quarter, and McGuffey carried a 25-15 lead into the locker room at halftime.


Which, coincidentally, was when Chadwick began plotting her next move on Deep.


Or her next compliment.


“I try to be as friendly and annoying as possible,” Chadwick said. “It works, though.”


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