O-R Athlete of the Week: Sammie Weiss, McGuffey
Name: Sammie Weiss
Weiss’s week: Weiss continued her dominance in Section 5-AA when she scored 21 points to lead McGuffey to a 60-31 win over Burgettstown. Three days later, Weiss hit an unexpected milestone. With her third basket of the game – a three-point shot – she became the school’s all-time leading scorer (boys or girls). She finished with 23 points in an 81-14 win over Bentworth.
Surprise: Entering last Thursday’s game against Bentworth, Weiss was aware she was close to breaking the record, but did not expect it to be reachable against the Bearcats. She was just five points shy and when her three-point shot went in, a loud buzzer rang throughout the McGuffey High School gym to signify the record being broken.
“I had no idea what was happening, to be honest with you,” Weiss said. “The buzzer rang. I thought it broke and then they told me. I was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know I was that close.’ I had an idea, but I didn’t think it was going to be that game, so I was surprised. It was great.”
The performance gave her 1,446 career points and broke the record held by Seth Hunter, who played a decade ago and had 1,430 points. Weiss, who was the Observer-Reporter’s Girls Player of the Year last season, is averaging 22.2 points per game. As a three-year starter, Weiss has seen the transformation of McGuffey’s program to one of the best in Class AA.
The Highlanders (9-0, 15-3) are on a 22-game winning streak in section play and are averaging a Class AA-best 66.4 points per game. McGuffey head coach Amanda Burchett was elated when Weiss set the record. She saw the surprised look on the junior’s face and will not forget her reaction.
“I think it’s an amazing achievement for anyone to do that, let alone someone who has only been playing high school basketball for (less than) three years,” Burchett said. “The funniest part is that it was a surprise. She had no idea it even happened. It was fun watching her be surprised by it.”
Growth: Weiss is a critical piece in McGuffey’s program rising up the Class AA ranks. With one year remaining in her high school career, she is within reach of the 2,000-point mark. Weiss has focused on trying to diversify her game. While she still has the tendency to drive to the lane, she is working on becoming unpredictable.
“I am still trying to open up my game to not always rely on driving,” Weiss said. “I am trying to change things and be a multidimensional player. I want to keep people guessing. If they expect me to do one thing, I will do another.”
Weiss admits that during her freshman year, she was shy and starting for the team during her first year in high school was nerve-racking at times. With experience has come the comfort of mentoring younger players on the team. Her head coach has not noticed much of a change. Burchett praised Weiss for being the ultimate team player and completely dedicated to the game.
“She is always in the gym, no matter what,” Burchett said. “Even if practice is cancelled, she’ll find a gym somewhere and shoot. She is always playing basketball. There is never a word out of her mouth. She does exactly what you ask her to do, and she is completely dedicated to the game.”
Compiled by Lance Lysowski