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East Fairmont swarms Red Riders



FEB 22, 2020


Sports correspondent






DRIVING IN — Weir High’s Brodie McUmar drives to the hoop with East Fairmont’s Avery Baker guarding on Friday. Also shown is Weir High’s Sebastian Spencer. -Joe Catullo

WEIRTON — East Fairmont had a strong first half, then outscored Weir High by 12 to open the fourth quarter, putting away an important section victory, 57-47, Friday night inside the Carl R. Hamill Fieldhouse.

The win snaps a three-game losing streak for the Bees and advances their record to 9-11.

In a game of spurts, the home-standing Red Riders (11-9) had theirs in the third quarter when they outscored East Fairmont, 21-10. However, they found scoring difficult in the important fourth quarter just like they did in the first half. Weir High was behind, 9-2, after the first eight minutes and 23-15 at the half.

The Bees were red hot from behind the arc, especially the coach’s son, Gavin Asterino, who knocked down five treys. Senior Luke Pollock drained two trifectas for a team total of seven.

“We took a three-point lead (36-33) with our big third quarter,” Red Rider coach Mike Granato said. “But, they had the run to open the fourth quarter. Basketball is a game of runs, and we needed one more run down the stretch. That’s what I kept telling our guys, but we couldn’t get it.”

East Fairmont coach Ty Asterino went into the game concerned because he had three players that had been out with injuries during the Bees’ three-game losing streak.

“That run to start the fourth quarter definitely put a little bit of space between us and then we had to make smart plays and try not to foul,” he said after his club won its ninth game in 20 starts. “That run was good to see because we responded after they had that big run in the third quarter (21-10). We got down and came back again and that shows something on our part. I thought our shooting picked up today. We’ve been playing a little bit shorthanded but I thought we came back and played really well tonight. Everybody that played contributed.”

Coach Asterino utilized his team’s height advantage with a full court pressing defense often, That created several unforced turnovers by the Red Riders. The home team also had trouble finishing shots on drives to the basket when they did break the pressure.

“Their length hurt us,” Granato said. “That happens to us sometimes when we play teams that are bigger than us. When we did crack it, we got some shots out of it, but it’s a credit to their execution that we didn’t make enough of them.

“We had a couple times when we missed layups and you have to make those if you want to win–bottom line. We also had too many turnovers, particularly early in the game (six in the first quarter). To our credit, we kept doing what we had to do and got our shots, but we just didn’t finish enough of them. We played hard. I can’t fault the effort.”

Despite the huge East Fairmont run to open the fourth quarter that put the Bees up by 49-40 with 3:33 left in the game, the Red Riders fought back and closed the gap to six points at 51-45 when senior Brodie McUmar made a layup off of a turnover with 2:20 left in the game. But East Fairmont made six of nine free throws in the final 1:09 with only a Elijah Gillette field goal in return for the final 10-point margin.

It marks the second East Fairmont win over the Red Riders this season. The Bees scored a 71-50 victory at home on Dec. 28.

Gavin Asterino finished with a game-high 17 points, and Pollock followed with 14 to lead the Bees offense.

Weir High seniors Gillette and Tanner Mikula each scored 13 points.


¯ The Region 1 coaches a due to have their votes in by noon next Tuesday to determine the seeding. There are two sections in the region. Weir High is in Section 2 along with East Fairmont, North Marion, Fairmont Senior and Oak Glen. Both coaches said it is anyone’s guess how the bottom three teams in the section will be seeded. North Marion and Fairmont Senior appear to have the top two seeds locked up.


¯ The East Fairmont jayvees more than doubled the score on the Pony Riders in the preliminary with a 63-31 win. Garrett Haymond scored 20 points for the Bees while Jayson Nosko led the Red Riders with 10 points.


East Fairmont Eludes Grafton In Overtime Thriller

  • By Joe Smith | Times West Virginian    2/21/2020

PLEASANT VALLEY – Upon a quick glance at the scoreboard inside The Hive at East Fairmont High, you could see that time was running short for the Bees to complete at comeback attempt as they hosted Big 10 and Class AA rival Grafton 63-61 in their regular season finale.

With under 30 seconds remaining in the fourth frame, East trailed the Bearcats by two points after clawing back from an eight-point deficit with just over 10 minutes of gameplay left and, at numerous points, securing a late-game lead. The Bees had possession of the ball, and they knew well it could be their last opportunity to keep the game alive.

When East fired their shot at the basket and it bounced out and into the hands  of Grafton, it would have been easy to stand and stare, or panic and blank. The Bees did neither, instead snapping into a pressure defense along the baseline — one bad pass and just a few seconds later, junior Kianna Casuccio shagged her sixth steal of the evening and dished an assist on a play that would tie the game and force overtime.

The perseverance in the face of adversity and ensuing play exemplifies the perfect combination of grit, hustle, and toughness the Bees captured on Thursday night as they would go on to down Grafton 63-61 in overtime.

“I just told them in there I thought we got outworked down the stretch. We let them get offensive rebound after offensive rebound and that’s not us — we usually clean up the glass pretty well,” said Grafton High head coach Andrew Moore.

“We set forth, we battle-tested ourselves with this schedule, and we’ve been in ball games all season. We lost to seven ranked teams this year, and we wanted to prep ourselves for sectional play. I feel like we’re playing damn good basketball right now, and that makes two winning seasons for us now after tonight,” said East Fairmont head coach James Beckman.

Trailing by seven at the halftime break following a first-half characterized by poor ball control and shooting struggles from both the field and the charity stripe, the Bees (12-10) would battle back strong in the third frame, forcing four turnovers in the final two minutes of the period to turn an eight-point Grafton (14-7) lead to a one possession game.

"They had a couple bad passes, and I could start to see their shoulders turning — we were able to anticipate the passes and go grab them," Casuccio said.

"We weren't getting a lot of calls our way on the offensive end in the second half, but we have to execute in those situations — that was our biggest problem tonight, is that we needed to execute, and we didn't do that," Grafton sophomore Meredith Maier said. 

From there, it was all about East’s toughness and hustle in a back-and-forth affair, as they earned eight second-chance points on the glass in the fourth frame and dominated the offensive boards late — in total, the Bees would nab 16 offensive rebounds compared to the Bearcats' nine and out-rebounded Grafton 33-27 overall.

"You have to control the glass. When you struggle at scoring at times, you want to give yourself as many opportunities as possible to score, so we preach every day in practices and the pre-game we have to control the glass, whether that's on the offensive or defensive end of the floor," Beckman said.

"Getting those second-chance opportunities really helps us, and it helps with our stamina. The bench warms up and gets really proud of the offense too — it's a great thing," said junior Somer Stover, who tallied a game-high 14 rebounds — including four on the offensive glass which all came in the final frame — and added a team-high 22 points.

As the two squads exchanged the lead late, the Bearcats would eventually come out in a position to take the lead and looked to have the game controlled before the late turnover which gave the Bees the tying bucket — Grafton would proceed to have two opportunities to score, but couldn't convert in the clutch to earn the win.

The Bearcats were paced by a standout performance from Maier, who tallied 29 points and seven rebounds while controlling the tempo and making nearly every big play Grafton needed down the stretch — she would tally 18 points and four boards in the second half and overtime as she fought tooth-and-nail to keep her team alive.

"She gave 110 percent — I thought she played hard, and she hit some big threes down the stretch and we thought we'd be able to get back into this game. You can't fault her effort, she's a great player and very versatile. I'm very proud of her," Moore said.

In extra time, the Bees would continue to outwork the Bearcats and would continue to use hustle plays and tough bodies on the glass to run away and secure a five-point lead with under a minute left. Despite Grafton’s Meredith Maier draining a three-pointer with just a few seconds left to play, the lead would be too much for them to overcome as East escaped with the victory.

The Bees are now 6-2 in their last eight games, and will open their post-season on Tuesday as they travel to cross-town rival Fairmont Senior for the third installment of the rivalry on the hardwood this season — tip-off is slated for 7 pm. Grafton will close their regular season tonight as they host Frankfort at 7:30 pm.





 enslaves the impossible”




Top-ranked Huskies overwhelm East Fairmont

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PLEASANT VALLEY — Class AA No. 1 North Marion started the first half strong and closed it in a rush to gain a 26-point lead at the intermission and never looked back in defeating county rival East Fairmont 66-35 Thursday night at EFHS.

The win moved the Huskies to 20-1 on the season while the Bees fell to 10-10.

The backcourt duo of Taylor Buonamici and Karlie Denham led the way for the Huskies. Buonamici came up with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Denham added 13 points and six assists.

Kiley Brown and Olivia Toland added nine points each, while sophomore center Katlyn Carson pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.

“They beat our press a lot of the time, but then they forced up quick shots that we were able to turn into fast breaks for us,” veteran NM coach Mike Parrish said. “We wanted to speed them up, so from that standpoint the pressure worked.

“But then we went into a spell where we couldn’t hit a layup.”

The Huskies’ pressure defense did indeed up the Bees early, forcing some turnovers but causing the Bees take quick shots, in blowing out to a 15-3 lead.

Brown started the early surge with a 3-pointer from the right wing at the 7:31 mark. Buonamici hit a runner and a 3-ball during the spree with Denham capping it at the 3:16 mark with a conventional three-point play that made it 15-3.

After Kylea Lopez hit two free throws for the Bees 12 seconds later, the Huskies closed out the quarter on an 8-0 run and led 23-5 with Taylor Kerere’s inside hoop just before the buzzer.

The Bees slowly began to creep back into the game in the second quarter, as a 7-2 run capped by Somer Stover’s free throw made it 25-12 at the 4:07 mark. East was still within 15 after Lopez’ runner made it 30-15 with 1:36 left in the half.

But the Huskies came up with one of their patented runs, outscoring East 11-0 in the final 1:06 of the second quarter to take a 41-15 lead at the intermission.

Denham had four points during the spree, which was capped by Brown’s 8-footer with seven seconds left in the half.

East could get no closer than 24 points in the second half, as Buonamici scored 10 points during the third quarter to make sure no East comeback was in the offing.

Kierra Bartholow led the Bees with nine points. Stover added six points and eight rebounds, while freshman McKenzie Moyer added five points and five rebounds off the bench. Point guard Mackenzie Tennant added four assists.

“We broke their pressure but we just didn’t make shots,” East coach James Beckman said. “We also did a poor job on the weakside of rotating to stop their outlet passes and they got some easy runouts because of that.

“And there at the end of the half, I think we got a little tired and didn’t respond when they went on that run.”


East Fairmont downs Big 10 foe Philip Barbour 75-50 



PLEASANT VALLEY When the final buzzer sounded at The Hive on Wednesday, a margin of 25 points separated a victorious East Fairmont squad and visiting Philip Barbour — and 18 of those came in unanswered spurts to start both the first and second halves for the Bees.

East opened the first frame of play on an 8-0 run and the third frame on a 10-0 run, keeping the Colts off the scoreboard for a combined eight minutes during the two stretches. Those runs would be more than enough to give the Bees the momentum and distance needed to run away to a 75-50 win to finish the night.

'We wanted to make sure that we came out with intensity, because we felt that's one of the things Philip Barbour teams always do, is play hard — we didn't expect them to do anything different than that tonight,' East Fairmont head coach Tyrone Asterino said.

'So we matched the intensity at the beginning, and then we matched it again pretty well at the beginning of the fourth quarter. If you take those two segments of time and we can match the other team's intensity, that usually bodes pretty well for us.'

Members of the team at East describe the program as one that puts an emphasis on performing strong on the defensive end of the floor, which is evident in performances like the one the Bees displayed on Wednesday.

“We drill every day in practice on the defensive end, we go through shell work for a good solid half-hour. We owe it to our coaches defensively for installing that in our brain — just sitting down and playing defense is what we pride ourselves on, so we can use that to get opportunities on the offensive end to score,” said senior Gavin Asterino.

“Some of the stuff we run — we run a little bit of pressure — I feel it makes it easier to get out and get steals and cause chaos,” said senior Trey Rogers, who led the Bees with three steals in the contest.

Rogers Runs Rampant

The Bees were paced in their win against Philip Babrour by an outstanding performance from senior Trey Rogers, who led all scorers with 22 points, which included converting a trio of three-point buckets — he also accounted for six rebounds, four assists, and three steals in the win, doing a little bit of everything to help contribute to the team's win.

'It's really easy when you have teammates like mine who get me the ball, and that I can get the ball to. We're all giving our best efforts, and that makes it easy,' Rogers said. 'I want to be able to play as much as I can, and I have to be able to play every position and handle different facets of the game. When you can do that, you can play anywhere.'

“He does a lot of things well. When he does them on the floor in a game situation, it sure does help. He shot the ball well, talked real well on defense, did well on defense and rebounding and he hustled for four quarters,” Asterino said.

Asterino describes Rogers as the type of player who “brings it to the the table every single night,” and talked about why having athletes with that type of attitude is crucial to the Bees finding success on the hardwood.

“He’s a good athlete, and he plays hard...that’s a good thing for us because you always need that ‘other man.’ With our lineup, you never know who is going to score — Luke is capable of scoring, Aiden is capable of scoring, Trey is capable of scoring. Trey definitely stepped up and played a good game tonight,” Asterino said.

East Fairmont’s Trey Rogers (22) drives through a crowd against Philip Barbour during Wednesday’s game at East Fairmont High School.



McDaniels, B-U shut down East Fairmont in 2nd half

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FAIRMONT — After trailing by one point at the half, the Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers had runs of 12-0 and 6-0 in the third quarter to bury the East Fairmont Bees, 58-39, at the Hive.

“We lit into them a little bit at halftime about their execution and giving up 27 points in a half. That’s not the way we play basketball. Held them to 12 in the second half, and that’s more the way we want to play,” B-U coach Rob Kittle said.

Shelby McDaniels was excellent, scoring 22 points to go with five steals, three rebounds and three assists for B-U (7-5).

“Shelby’s a competitor. She loves to compete. She plays as hard as anybody out there,” Kittle said. “She puts in the effort in practice. She comes in the gym early in the morning to shoot. Everything she gets on the court is because of the hard work she puts in.”

McKenzie Reynolds, Kendal Currence and Brooklyn Maxwell scored eight apiece for the Bucs.

Somer Stover put in 10 points, eight in the first half, and Kierra Bartholow scored all nine of her points on 3-pointers in the first half to lead East Fairmont (6-8).

East scored first on a Kianna Casuccio three-point play, but B-U scored the next four.

After a tie at 6, Kayla Corley hit a 3 for EF, then Reynolds scored a stick-back and McDaniels converted a three-point play for B-U to give the Bucs a 11-9 lead with 1:55 left in the quarter.

Stover’s basket tied things again after one period.

After a 13-13 tie, layups by Stover twice and Kylea Lopez gave the Bees a six-point cushion.

B-U used a 7-0 run to re-take the lead at 24-21 before a Bartholow 3.

After a Currance lay-in, Bartholow beat the buzzer to give EF a 27-26 halftime lead.

But after a Casuccio layup to start the third quarter, the Bees didn’t score for over six minutes.

Balance defined the Bucs as seven different players scored between two and four points in the period.

“We did a better job of communication and execution. We shared the ball much better,” Kittle said. “We really challenged them at halftime and I couldn’t be happier with the way they responded.”

It was a 38-29 game when Mackenzie Tennant hooked in two to pull the Bees within seven, but B-U scored the final six points of the quarter and led by double figures the rest of the way.

The largest lead was 21 points after two McDaniels free throws.



Bees clamp down defensively, beat James Monroe, 58-43

By Greg Carey in | January 20, 2020

WVMetro News

East Fairmont’s Somer Stover led all players with 13 points and 13 rebounds Monday in a win over James Monroe.


FAIRMONT, W.Va. — East Fairmont smothered James Monroe throughout the first half, holding the Mavericks to two field goals and nine points as the Bees went on to a 58-43 win Monday in the East Fairmont Classic.

“We were pressuring the ball and our recovery was really good,” Bees’ head coach James Beckman said. “They broke a few traps and our execution getting out of those traps was crucial. They missed a lot of shots too, which allowed us to get out and run. 

“We held them to four points in the second quarter and a crucial part of the game was the second-quarter run.”

After Karissa Hunnicutt hit an early 3-pointer to give the Mavericks (6-7) a 5-4 lead, the Bees (6-7) prevented James Monroe from making another field goal the remainder of the first half.

East Fairmont also got six points from Somer Stover during a 9-0 run to close the first quarter, allowing the Bees to lead, 13-5.

Five different EFHS players accounted for a field goal during an 11-0 Bees’ surge in the second quarter, making it a 20-0 run in all and a 24-5 lead.

James Monroe managed to make 4-of-6 free throws over the final 45 seconds of the half to face a 15-point deficit at the break, though it made only 2-of-18 field goals through two quarters.

But the Mavericks discovered their offense in the second half and needed only 3:45 of action to match their point total from the first two quarters when Hunnicutt’s layup made it 33-18.

That was the start of a 12-4 James Monroe run that brought the Mavericks to within 37-28, before the Bees’ Tatum Oates scored to beat the third quarter buzzer.

A triple by James Monroe’s Akayla Hughes started the fourth-quarter scoring to cut the East Fairmont lead to 39-31, but the Mavericks got no closer.

Instead, the Bees went on a 9-1 run to double their lead with Stover scoring five straight points to help put the game out of reach.

“We settled in late in that third quarter and we were able to weather the storm by slowing down, pacing ourselves and putting a run back together,” Beckman said. “The high-low game with Tatum and Somer was working well and that’s what spurred that late run was them looking for each other.”

Stover finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds to lead the way in the win.

Morgan Boroski led the Mavericks with 12 points.

Fourteen of James Monroe’s 21 turnovers came in the first half.

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Bees battle from behind to beat Preston 78-64 





PLEASANT VALLEY – Any number of basketball coaches will tell you that their sport is a sport of runs and spurts.

East Fairmont High head coach Tyrone Asterino echoed the same sentiments on Friday night after the Bees hosted Class AAA opponent and Big 10 rival Preston at The Hive.

For East, it took one massive run to find themselves in a position to earn a victory on Friday night — and it came just when they needed it.

After entering halftime trailing the Knights, the Bees would battle back with an explosive third frame, nailing five three-point baskets and forcing seven turnovers as they would outscore Preston 248 to take a double-digit lead into the fourth quarter.

Preston would get their game back on track and match the Bees point-for-point in the fourth, but it was too little, too late as East would run away with a 78-64 victory.

“Our coaches preach to us in practice all the time that we don’t come out in the third quarter playing as hard as we need to, and they always get on our butts for it. So


East Fairmont’s Ethan Harvey (1) dribbles while guared by Preston’s Austin Matheny (23) during Friday night’s game at East Fairmont. For a slideshow of photos, log on to timeswv.com.




we’ve been telling ourselves to come out and play hard after halftime, and that’s what we’ve been doing,” said senior Ethan Harvey, who tallied eight of his 11 points in the third frame.

The Knights would carry a 36-34 advantage into the break on the back of a hot-handed performance from senior Nick Smith, who drained a trio of long-range buckets en route to a 20 point first half performance.

The Bees would switch to a man-to-man defense to contain Smith after the break — he would tally just two points in the third period — and use turnovers and transition offense to establish momentum.

“You know, to be honest, we came out and did some of the same things we did in the first half, but I think we just executed a little bit better. But we had some real good defensive work to turn them over, and then some real clutch shooting — we were in rhythm, and we play better when we’re playing in rhythm,” Asterino said.

Gavin Asterino paced the Bees with 24 points, while Luke Pollock barely missed a double-double with an 18 point, nine rebound game.

Aiden Slusser added 16 points and seven rebounds for the Bees while Harvey filled up the stat sheet with 11 points, eight assists, five rebounds, and four steals.

Smith led the Knights with 31 points and five rebounds.

January 15, 2020




Harvey's big 4th quarter buckets lead Bees past Lincoln

by Charles Casey CORRESPONDENT 21 hrs ago 




Ethan Harvey made a pair of big buckets in the fourth quarter to lead East Fairmont past Lincoln.

Photo by Emily Gallagher




SHINNSTON — Ethan Harvey made two big shots in the final two minutes to help East Fairmont hold off Lincoln, 54-53 in Big 10 Conference boys high school basketball action Wednesday night at Lincoln High School.

The game was tied 49 apiece after Lincoln’s Zach Snyder hit a 3-pointer with 2:42 left in the contest.


Just 24 seconds later, Harvey was left wide open at the top of the key and made the 3-pointer to give East Fairmont (4-5) a 52-49 advantage. Then after getting a defensive stop, Harvey drove to the basket for a layup to extend the margin to 54-49 with 1:16 to play.



“Ethan made two big shots when we needed them,” East Fairmont coach Tyrone Asterino said. “This was a good win for us on the road and what can you say about what a good high school basketball game this was and the atmosphere with Lincoln having its band playing. The crowds for both teams were electric and the game did not disappoint anybody here.”

Lincoln (6-4) got a 3-pointer from Sammy Bart to close the gap to two, 54-52, with 40 seconds remaining and then the Cougars defense forced an East turnover with 25 seconds to play.

At this point in the game, East Fairmont had committed only three team fouls, so it had three fouls to give down the stretch. The Bees executed the plan to perfection the first time, but it didn’t work the next time as Snyder was fouled shooting a 3-pointer with 9.3 seconds left on the clock.

Snyder made only one of three at the free throw line to keep East Fairmont ahead by a slim 54-53 spread.

Trey Rogers then missed the front end of a one-and-one situation and the Cougars raced up the floor. The Bees still had one foul to give but didn’t give it and Bart got a good look at a 3-pointer in the corner at the buzzer, but the shot didn’t fall and East Fairmont held on for the win.

“I thought our defense let us down the entire night, but we had our opportunities to win, we just did not do it,” Lincoln coach Jordan Toth said. “We didn’t rebound the basketball like we have all year and it always seemed like (East Fairmont) was finding open shots in our zone defense.”

The first half was both teams make huge runs as each team had one player get hot from 3-point range to key the surges.



Gavin Asterino made three of East Fairmont four treys in the first quarter for a 16-7 lead. Rogers had two early baskets and Aidan Slusser a driving layup in the first minute of the second quarter to give the Bees their biggest lead of the game — a 15-point, 22-7 margin with 7:04 left in the half.

“I am really proud of my guys for the way they battled all night long,” coach Asterino said. “They’re were many runs in this basketball game and we talk to our guys about runs and making the most of them when we can and we had the last one in the fourth quarter.”

But, the Cougars went on a 19-2 run keyed by Brayden White coming off the bench to hit four 3-pointers as Lincoln took a 26-24 advantage with 1:18 left until halftime.

The Bees led 28-26 at the half and each team held small leads in the third quarter before the game ended up tied 40-40 heading into the final exciting period of play.

Asterino finished the evening connecting on five 3-pointers for a game-high 17 points to East Fairmont. Luke Pollock followed with 13 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Rogers ended the evening with nine points and five assists for the Bees.

Snyder paced the Cougars with 14 points and four assists. White followed with 12 points, all on 3-point baskets, while Ryan Leep added eight points, five rebounds and four assists. Payton Hawkins finished with six points, three assists and three blocked shots for Lincoln.

East Fairmont nabs big win over Lincoln

East Fairmont pulled out a big-time 54-53 road conference win over Lincoln on Wednesday.

The victory improves the Bees 4-5 and snaps a three-game losing streak.

Gavin Asterino scored a team-high 17 points in the win for the Bees, while Luke Pollock also reached double figures with 13 points. Trey Rogers added another nine points for East, while Aiden Slusser had six points, Ethan Harvey had five points and Adam Earls had four points.

East Fairmont will play again Friday at home versus Preston.



Girls basketball: Mingo Central bouncing back after difficult year-Knocks off East Fairmont in Wildcat Classic in Logan


Mingo Central’s Ziah Rhodes scored 20 points in Saturday’s win over East Fairmont.

LOGAN — A season ago, a fight among teammates derailed an otherwise promising season for Mingo Central.

This year, the Miners are fighting together, to put their program back on the map.

Central took another step toward that on Saturday, using a late scoring flurry with some guts and guile to outlast East Fairmont 61-56 at the Wildcat Classic Hoops Showcase at Logan.

The win moved the Miners to 5-2, a big step forward from last year’s 7-17 campaign, one which Mingo Central is striving to leave in the past.

In the team’s second game of the year, junior stars Ziah Rhodes and Katie Ball got into an altercation on the floor, one that eventually led to their suspensions and subsequent transfers to Belfry High School in Kentucky. It also led to coach Brandon Ball stepping down after three games, yielding to Nathaniel Siggers, who remains on the coaching staff now.

Ball and Rhodes were expected to carry the load a year ago, thrusting several youngsters into the fray in a rugged Cardinal Conference and Class AA Region 4.

But it’s a new year and a new Mingo, and under the guidance of former Burch player Kim Davis-Smith, the Miners are making strides. Davis-Smith was on Burch’s state-championship team in 1990, the only girls basketball state title won by a school in Mingo County.

In this her first year as a head coach, she’s striving to bring some of that championship mentality to the Miners.

“We have some of those kids back, but me coming in as a new coach, it’s definitely been a rebuilding process,” Davis-Smith said. “We are starting over, with everything. We have new uniforms, we’ve upgraded our locker room — we’ve really tried to invest in our kids, our program and our future.”

After a year away, Rhodes has returned and is flourishing in her senior season. Rhodes led all scorers with 20 points on Saturday and averaged just over that entering the game. The athletic combo guard has also bought into Davis-Smith’s philosophies and heightened leadership responsibilities.

“I think she’s embraced it well and she’s probably never had a coach like me,” Davis-Smith said. “I just hold them to a different level of accountability in practice, in life in general and how we present ourselves in public and at school. She’s done well with it and they all have and she is a phenomenal athlete.”

Scarlett Thomason was one of those players thrust into the spotlight a year ago and was the team’s lone double-digit scorer, averaging 14.3 points.

Now a junior, Thomason is complementing Rhodes in the backcourt and scored 18 points on Saturday, including a pivotal third-quarter stretch of eight straight to put the Miners ahead.

Madisyn Curry scored seven points off the bench with Zoe Evans and Maliyah Martin adding six points apiece. Jena Wagoner, a transfer from Tug Valley, came up with four foul shots down the stretch to help keep the Bees at arm’s length.

Kierra Bartholow hit six 3s to lead East Fairmont with 18 points. Somer Stover added 14 points and Avery Pack 11. The Bees (3-5) held a 34-23 advantage in rebounding.

With only losses against Winfield and North Laurel, Kentucky on the ledger, the Miners are off to a 3-1 start in the Cardinal Conference and should find themselves in the thick of a competitive Region 4 Section 2 that also features Chapmanville, Logan and Lincoln County among others.

The event featured a personal milestone for Summers County guard Taylor Isaac.

The Class A No. 4 Bobcats picked up a 61-47 win over Tug Valley in the game prior to the Mingo Central-East Fairmont tilt, with Isaac scoring 21 points to go over 1,000 for her career. Fellow junior Gavin Pivont led the team with 22 points.



East Fairmont spreads the wealth in 73-50 rout of Weir 




TIMESWESTVIRGINIAN PLEASANT VALLEY — In their prior meeting in last season’s sectional quarterfinals East Fairmont and Weir went back and forth down to the wire in a breathtaking thriller the Red Riders eventually won on their home floor.

But in the rematch on Saturday at East Fairmont High School, the Bees had no problems breathing easy as they ripped off a 41-23 run over the second and third quarters to win in a 73-50 rout.

Seniors Aiden Slusser, Ethan Harvey and Luke Pollock tied for the team-lead with 12 points apiece, and the Bees had 12 players score in the game and seven tally five or more points.

Dakota Nutter scored a team-high 10 points to go with five rebounds for Weir, while Elijah Gillette and Sebastian Spencer tallied eight and seven points, respectively.

“It makes it more exciting for everybody. It’s a lot of fun and more of a team atmosphere,” said Slusser of the East’s balanced scoring and contributions across the roster. “We’re on the bench in the fourth quarter cheering for everybody...it makes it fun.”

As a team, the Bees (3-2) shot a blistering 53.8 percent from the field as their press gobbled up 20 turnovers for easy open-court opportunities and their half-court offense harnessed a rhythmic tempo around drive-and-kick attacks within prime spacing.

“Our press work leads to us getting pretty easy baskets a lot of times, but when our press isn’t working, we have to set up and execute and I think our execution is gettingbetter,” East Fairmont coach Tyrone Asterino said. “We have a lot of upperclassmen — we have 10 seniors in there who are playing — so it’s not like it’s something new to them. They’ve been in our system and know what we do.”

Aside from a handful of overzealous turnovers on hit-aheads, East’s offense cut up Weir’s half-court man-to-man and 1-2-2 full-court press with crisp ball movement and decisive dribble attacks. Pollock feasted on putbacks and a couple ofdesigned post touches off screens and duck-ins and Harvey stormed to the hoop on countless shouldercheck drives. Trey Rogers, who had seven points and a pair of assists, toasted Weir on closeout attacks, and Gavin Asterino, who had nine points and three rebounds, canned a pair of catch-and-shoot triples.

“We can run spread and dribble drive and pitch around guys who can shoot, or we can use our set plays to get the look we want, so it makes our offensive game a lot easier to execute,” said Slusser, who also nabbed six steals, grabbed four rebounds and dished three assists in addition to his 12 points.

Yet, even in spite of that smooth, synergistic tempo East summoned in half-court situations, it was their press and overall go-go style that truly overwhelmed the Red Riders.

Utilizing 1-2-2 and 2-2-1 fullcourt pressure schemes, the Bees flummoxed Weir with a firestorm of swarming arms on the ball and vibrant activity jumping passing lanes off of it. They prodded seven turnovers apiece in each of the first two periods for 14 total in the first half as they took a 38-25 lead into the break.

“We knew their personnel — they penetrate pretty well and are pretty quick as a team — and we wanted to make sure we neutralized their speed and their quickness,” Coach Asterino said. “We had talked about if we


East Fairmont’s Ethan Harvey drives against Weir’s Brodie McUmar during Saturday’s game at East Fairmont High School.



C ONTINUEDFROMPAGE1B weren’t playing real well in man-to-man, we’d mix in some zones and press work and we did and got on a little bit of a run.”

The press spearheaded a 10-2 run by the Bees to start the second quarter after they led 17-9 after the first period. Aaron Gorman, who had seven points, five steals and three assists off the bench, initiated the spurt with a reacharound poke away that led to a Slusser layup before he finished off his own doubleclutch layup. A Pollock putback and a pick-six steal-layup by Slusser ballooned East’s lead to 27-11 less than three minutes into the frame.

“I think (in the press) it’s really about not holding back — just go to the ball, trap and make plays,” Slusser said.

Weir finally stitched together some tic-tac-toe passing sequences thereafter to spurn the press for transition buckets, but East’s half-court offense couldn’t be contained with Harvey ticking off five straight points and then Rogers feeding Avery Baker for a high-low layup.

At the half, East was 13-of-21 (61.9 percent) from the field and 7-of-11 from the line.

In the third, the Bees were still scorching as they hit eight of their first 12 shots in what would amount to a 20-point quarter. Rogers got the period started with a wing 3 off a kickout pass and then he unfurled back-to-back drives, the first for a layup on a closeout attack and the next for a drive-and-kick assist to Asterino for a corner trey.

With the Bees up 48-32 midway through the third quarter, Slusser delivered back-to-back transition layups with impressive finishes before Harvey stuck another triple off a drive-and-kick assist from Gorman. East hiked the lead up to a whopping 26point margin at 58-32 heading into the fourth.

The sectional victory over Weir on Saturday comes on the heels of a win over regional foe Petersburg last week in which the Bees scored 62 points and had Asterino (14 points), Harvey (11 points), Pollock (11 points) and Rogers (10 points) all score in double figures while Slusser added nine.

“I’m really proud of our kids — I think they’ve battled hard,” Coach Asterino said. “We’ve put together two wins back to back and we’re going to keep working and keep moving ahead.”

The Bees’ next game will be against cross-town foe Fairmont Senior on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at East Fairmont High School.

Email Bradley Heltzel at bheltzel@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @bradheltzTWV.



Tenacity takes Lady Polar Bears to 71-42 win over East Fairmont


  December 11, 2019


FAIRMONT — Marley Washenitz will tell you and Corey Hines will preach it: In girls’ basketball, the most aggressive teams win.

That tenacity has been a hallmark of Hines’ teams throughout his 10-year tenure at Fairmont Senior, and through three games this season, this year’s crop of youthful Lady Polar Bears are starting to discover the sheer dynamism that patented feistiness carries, with it all reaching a peak in Tuesday’s cross-town clash with East Fairmont.

The Lady Polar Bears (3-0) prodded 41 turnovers and grabbed 21 offensive rebounds to power past the Bees 71-42 at the 201st Fairmont Senior High School Field House.

“We knew from the beginning of the season we’d have a young group, but most of us have been playing together since a young age and we’re hard workers,” said FSHS sophomore Laynie Beresford, who had 10 points, five assists, four rebounds and four steals, “so I think we knew very early we could be tough defensively.”

That defense, which toggled between myriad full- and half-court pressure looks, wrecked East Fairmont all night despite the Bees shooting a respectable 40 percent from the floor, including 50 percent in the first half. The Polar Bears ended the night with 24 steals, with sophomore star Marley Washenitz doing the majority of FSHS’s theft as she stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, 10 steals, seven rebounds and seven assists.

“You got to have good leadership on the floor so you have to have somebody who believes in what you’re trying to teach and Marley does that, she believes. You also have to have good coaches, and Corey Boddy and Ryan Sevier do an excellent job,” said Hines. “We work, we work...and by that happening, that stuff becomes contagious. In years past, we’ve had Courtney Wilfong, Tyra Horton, other players who have believed in being aggressive, and this year, Marley’s really buying into it and also Emily Starn — Emily, she’s in there.

“So it starts with that, and then I’m looking at some of our younger kids and they’re enjoying the way things are going and they enjoy the way we play.”

The spoils of that defensive moxie spread across the entire FSHS lineup on Tuesday, with 11 different Polar Bears scoring in the game and six recording five or more points.

Washenitz and Starn tied for the team-high in scoring with 13 points apiece, followed by 10 points apiece from Beresford and junior Bekah Jenkins. Reagan Blasher added another nine ponts, while Makayla Lilley had five points.

“Us causing turnovers, that definitely gets everybody’s game spiked up more and gets everybody hyped up more about the game,” said Beresford, who was 4-of-6 from the field.

The bevy of turnovers put East Fairmont in an early 10-point hole after the first quarter at 22-12 despite 5-of-9 shooting for the Bees and seven points from EFHS sharpshooter Kierra Bartholow in the frame. An 8-2 run to close the period, in particular, did the Bees in, with Beresford first diming up Blasher for a wing 3 from the high post before she and Keyonna Hilson scored on back-to-back breakaway layups off steals.

Fairmont Senior quickly hiked up the margin into the 15-16-point range in the second quarter, with Lilley plopping in back-to-back buckets, the first of which came on a gorgeous dime by Washenitz in semi-transition.

East Fairmont stayed within shouting distance for most of the second quarter, with the Bees’ marquee performer being Avery Pack off the bench. Pack scored a team-high 13 points to go with seven rebounds, four steals and three blocks, while Bartholow tallied another 10 points for the Bees. But with senior point guard Mackenzie Tennant and junior forward Somer Stover having to initiate EFHS’s press breaker, two of the Bees' offensive linchpins were never afforded opportunities to be play finishers as they scored a combined four points on four shots for the game, with neither player even attempting a shot in the first half.

A clean swipe by Beresford for a runout and-one layup followed by a flashy step through layup by Jenkins gave the Polar Bears a 42-23 lead at the half, with FSHS owning a 27-6 turnover margin.

A pair of 3s by Starn in the opening moments of the third quarter blew the game open as Fairmont Senior doubled up the Bees at 50-25 with five minutes to go in the period.

Fairmont Senior (3-0) will play again Thursday when it travels to rival North Marion (1-0), while East Fairmont (1-2) will play its next game Saturday afternoon at home against Hedgesville.

Email Bradley Heltzel at bheltzel@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @bradheltzTWV.







Bees sting Red Riders in OT

Local Sports Weirton Daily Times  Dec 4, 2019

RALPH COX    Sports correspondent

WEIRTON — The Weir High girls basketball team had a couple of shots going down the stretch in overtime but couldn’t find the mark, as they fell to East Fairmont, 41-40, in a thriller on the Ron (Fritz) Williams Court inside the Carl Hamill Fieldhouse Tuesday night.

It was the season opener for both teams, and they played the game as if it was tournament time.

The Bees pressured the Red Riders in the first half and went to the locker room with an 18-12 lead. However, Rick Stead’s club got things going in the third quarter, took the lead and didn’t give it up until East Fairmont’s Avery Pack grabbed an offensive rebound and put the ball back up into the basket, tying the game at 36-36 with 29 seconds left in regulation.

The Bees got a hoop off of the overtime tipoff and were never headed in the extra period.

“We didn’t make many adjustments at halftime,” Stead said. “We just talked about tightening things up, make the easy shots and protect the basketball (Weir High had 16 first-half turnovers). The girls played better and stepped up their intensity level in the second half. We had a real nice run in the third quarter (the Red Riders outscored the Bees 19-10 in that third stanza).”

Weir High was down 27-19 at the 4:22 mark of the third quarter when they went on a 12-1 run to go into the final period with a 31-28 lead.

“Pressuring is the style that we want to play,” East Fairmont coach James Beckman said. “We have nine or 10 girls that we can go with. That’s our identity this year. I have eight returning lettermen, four seniors and they have been through games like this before.

“We played before in hostile crowds. I scheduled this season the first three games on the road for a reason. When you go to Charleston, you’re going to be on the road, and we want to be battled tested to start the season. Our conference alone is tough. Everyone knows that, in the Big Ten, you’re battled tested every night. I’m very proud of how they kept their composure throughout the game.”

Weir High senior Olivia Bernola made a layup with 4:15 left in regulation to give the Red Riders a 35-30 lead. The other senior on the team, Sophia Mikula, dropped in a free throw a minute later for Weir High’s biggest lead of the game at 36-30. However, that was the last point the Riders would score in regulation.

The Bees took a 40-36 lead at the 2:53 mark of overtime on two free throws by Pack. Mikula then nailed a clutch 3-pointer with 1:47 left to cut the lead to one point at 40-39.

Mackenzie Tennant made a free throw with 59 seconds left, and Leah Maley sank one at the 41-second mark, but Weir High couldn’t get a couple of shots from close range to fall as time ran out.

“We had a couple of freshmen play in their first varsity game tonight, and this was a physical game,” Stead said. “There was a lot of pushing and shoving, and I’m sure they had nothing like that in middle school. But, overall, I’m proud of the way the kids came back after halftime and kept up the intensity throughout the game. We showed that we can play with one of the better teams in our section.”

Maley, who injured a knee before the season started last year and had to sit out her sophomore year, made her presence known in her return, finishing with a double-double. She led the Red Riders with 13 points and 11 rebounds. She also had a couple of assists and a block. Mikula followed with 11 points and seven rebounds.

Pack was the high scorer for the Bees with 11 points. She was followed closely by Somer Stover with 10 points.


East Fairmont dominated in the reserve game, winning 50-17. Mackenzie Moyer scored 16 points for the Bees, while Casey Yacos, Taylor Haught and Kiara Palavis each scored four points for the Riders.


East Fairmont: Travels to Tucker County on Thursday.

Weir High: Hosts Steubenville on Thursday.

East Fairmont 41, Weir High 40 (OT)

East Fairmont 10-8-10-8-5 — 41

Weir High 9-3-19-5-4 — 40

EAST FAIRMONT (1-0): Tennant 3 1-2 7; Oates 1 0-0 2; Corley 1-2-4 4; Pack 4 3-5 11; Stover 5 0-0 10; Barthalow 0 1-2 1; Casuccio 3 0-0 6. TOTALS: 17, 7-13: 41. REBOUNDS: 19 (Tennant, Stover 4 each). TURNOVERS: 15.

WEIR HIGH (0-1): Mikula 3 4-6 11; Bernola 2 0-0 4; Hoover 0 0-0 0; I. Aperfine 4 0-0 8; S. Aperfine 1 0-0 2; Maley 2 9-15 13; Nutter 1 0-0 2. TOTALS: 13, 13-21: 40. 3-POINT GOALS: Mikula. REBOUNDS: 39 (Maley 11). TURNOVERS: 26.


Inside you will find all access to the Bee Basketball program. Find out the gist of what makes Coach Asterino’s & Coach Beckman's program on the rise. You will find game schedules from freshman to varsity, polls, stats, practice calendar, and newsletter’s. Enjoy touring the site, getting familiar with the coaching staff and players, and exploring the explosive excitement that "THE SWARM" brings to BEE Ball Games at “THE HIVE”.

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