Shadyside earns statement win

SHADYSIDE — Serge Gentile is a realist as it pertains to the basketball season and knows one game out of 22 won’t define a season, regardless of the outcome.

But, at the same time, the Shadyside head coach realizes some wins seem to carry more weight than others in terms of who they come against.

The Lady Tigers scored one of those Wednesday night when they controlled Wheeling Central basically throughout en route to an impressive 58-47 victory.

“We’ve played some good teams so far, but I don’t think anyone will debate that (Wheeling Central) is the best we’ve faced thus far, so I am just really happy with where we are in the season because (this win) can validate some of the things the girls have done so far.”

Now 4-0 on the young season, Shadyside is off until it meets Linsly Monday and then a week from today, it returns the trip to East Wheeling to complete the season series with the Maroon Knights, who are now 1-2.

Central, the defending West Virginia Class A state champions, simply seemed out of sync against the Shadyside zone, which gave the Knights fits on the offensive end.

“They were in complete control of the game throughout and we didn’t give them any resistance at all,” veteran Central head coach Penn Kurtz said. “We have a very talented team, but for some reason we decided not to play very well tonight and Shadyside had a lot to do with that.”

The game was relatively tight throughout. Shadyside led by five (12-7) after one and four (26-22) at the half.

Central appeared to be gaining some momentum in the opening four minutes of the third when it scored the first seven points of the half.

Splendid sophomore Baylee Wach, who was held relatively in check in the first half, got going for the Lady Tigers. She and talented classmate Tory Hendershot scored on back-to-back possessions to put Shadyside back on top for what proved to be for good.

All told, the Tigers used a 13-6 run to close the quarter for a 39-35 upperhand after three.

“The girls have bought in to the zone and the effort we need to give on the defensive end to be able to become the team that we want to be,” Gentile said. “I think they’ve seen the light a little bit and I think they deserve all of the credit for their hard work and the way they battled tonight. Plus, we made big shots when we had to.”

Shadyside hit several big shots in the fourth. Central opened the fourth with a trey from Hannah White to shave the deficit to one.

Not one panic button was pressed by the Lady Tigers. Shadyside actually proceeded to score the next 10 points to open up its biggest lead at 49-38. Senior Jaycee Mayeres and Wach split the points during the spurt.

“I like the fortitude with which this team has played so far,” Gentile said. “We’ve handled adversity well when we’ve faced it and that’s a good sign. I am just really proud of the girls.”

Central got only as close as seven the rest of the way at 54-47.

“We didn’t execute very well on the offensive end and let their zone dictate what we tried to do,” Kurtz said. “We weren’t aggressive against (the zone). We took a lot of outside shots when we had an advantage outside, so we didn’t do what we didn’t what we needed to do.”

Wach and Hendershot both turned in strong efforts, scoring 18 points. Wach collected nine rebounds, while Hendershot had five.

Senior Syd Destifanes ignited Shadyside in the first half by hitting all three of her treys.

The Knights were led by Eden Gainer’s 18. Shadyside was able to limit the other two thirds of the Knights’ big three — White and Kaylee Reinbeau — to just nine each. Marissa Horan also finished with nine.

“They have arguably three of the best players around and I don’t think you’re ever going to stop all three at any one time, but if you can limit the damage they do, you’re going to give yourself a chance,” Gentile offered.

Central, now 1-2, returns to action Friday in the Williamstown Tournament against Poca.