The end of Sammie Weiss’ school day was enhanced beyond it simply being Friday.
The talented McGuffey High School basketball player found out, along with the rest of the school through a building-wide announcement, that she was voted a Class AA first-team selection on the Pennsylvania Sports Writers All-State Basketball Team.
It is believed that Weiss, a 5-11 junior, is the first McGuffey female to be selected first team on the all-state team.
“I was shocked,” said Weiss. “I never expected it.”
Weiss averaged 23.4 points per game in helping lead McGuffey to a 12-0 record that secured the Section 5-AA title and a 20-5 overall mark. The Highlanders earned berths in the WPIAL and PIAA playoffs. They defeated Brentwood, 77-49, in the first round before losing to Burrell, 79-68. In the state tournament, McGuffey fell to Bellwood-Antis, 56-55, in the first round.
“I’m happy to get on the team,” said Weiss, who was the Observer-Reporter’s Player of the Year for a second consecutive season. “That was one of my goals.”
Weiss was just one of three juniors this season for McGuffey. Weiss’ sister, Cassie, was one of three seniors. Abby Pattison and Samantha Chadwick are the other two seniors, and Sammie Weiss created a strong bond with that group.
“Getting to spend the last year with my sister and Sammie and Abby was special,” she said. “I’ve played basketball with them for a long time. It’s going to be strange when they aren’t here next year.”
McGuffey head coach Amanda Burchett said Weiss made tremendous improvement in her decision making on the court.
“In the past, she would get most of her points driving to the basket,” Burchett said. “She has become more selective with her shooting. She has improved on knowing when to drive, when to pass the ball, when to take the jump shot.”
Burchett said Weiss leads by example and is respected for her worth ethic.
“She’s dedicated to the game in all aspects,” Burchett said. “She is not a vocal kid but she always gives 110 percent in games.”
Weiss, who was a second-team selection last season, is a versatile player. She has played point guard, shooting guard, forward and defends point guards and forwards with the same effectiveness on defense.
“Basketball was a challenge for me,” Weiss said. “It didn’t come natural. It’s always been challenging, and I still feel that way.”
The WPIAL had the Player of the Year in each of the girls classifications.
Naje Gibson of Seton-La Salle was the selection in Class AA, Erin Mathias of Fox Chapel in Class AAAA, Chassidy Omogrosso of Blackhawk made it in Class AAA and Brenna Wise of Vincentian was the pick in Class A.
Cumberland Valley’s Bill Wolf (Class AAAA), Blackhawk’s Steve Lodovico (Class AAA), Seton-La Salle’s Spencer Stefko (Class AA) and Vincentian’s Ron Moncrief (Class A) were chosen as the respective coaches of the year in runaway votes. All four guided their teams to state titles.
The all-state teams can be found in the Scoreboard section on Page C-2.