By LOU NAGY
NEW MANCHESTER, W.Va. - For the first time since tragedy struck the Oak Glen community, the girls basketball team took the court Thursday night against county rival Weirton.
"This is something that no one should ever have to go through," Oak Glen coach Scott Wiley said.
Oak Glen High school juniors Kristyn Butcher and Kaylin Rice and sophomore John Emmett Snow III died in traffic accident after the girls game on Saturday night.
"They're strong kids and we've asked them to do the best they can and just get through tonight," Wiley said. "Hopefully these next few hours will take their minds off of it for a while."
Oak Glen took a 29-13 halftime lead on the way to a 59-33 win.
"This has been real tough on us as a team and a community," Oak Glen senior Vanessa Hissam said. "All of us are hurting but I think this helped a little bit. We're here for each other and that means a lot."
Before the game, the Red Rider girls met the Bears at half court and in a show of support presented the Oak Glen team with wristbands made in memory of their three classmates. Both teams stood side by side as everyone honored the three students in a moment of silence.
The Golden Bears used a 9-0 run to pull away in the first period for a 13-8 lead..
Hissam and sophomore Alex Arnott each had seven points as the Bears led 29-13 at halftime.
Hissam lead all scorers with 14 points, while Arnott added 10 and Logan Andrews eight.
Even in victory, their somber mood showed a hurt that even a win over a big rival like Weirton could heal.
"It felt a little odd at first, coming onto the court, but we're a close nit group and we helped each other out," Oak Glen senior Carli Wiley said. "We've got to stay close and move on together."
"Everyone played well tonight, better than expected considering everything," Wiley said. "It was a well-rounded, team effort. These are strong kids and they responded well tonight."
For the Riders Regan Stead had 10 points and Alisa Shingler nine.
Weirton defeated Oak Glen in the junior varsity contest, 46-41. Weirton's Franseca Farren lead all scores with 16 points. Bre Evans had nine and Alison Snow eight for the Bears.
Oak Glen will host East Liverpool at 6 p.m. today.
OAK GLEN: 13-29-42-59
WEIR SCORING: Selena Wolverton 3-0-6, Regan Stead 5-0-10, Alissa Shingler 3-1-9, Matty Dalrymple 1-3-5, Linsey Robinson 1-0-2, Farren 0-1-1. TOTALS: 13, 5: 33.
OAK GLEN SCORING: Tori Feicht 3-0-6, Vanessa Hissam 6-2-14, Carli Wiley 2-0-4, Jessica Stivason 1-1-3, Alex Arnott 4-2-10, Brie Evans 3-0-6, Alison Snow 1-0-2, Logan Andrews 3-2-8, Maisie Withrow 1-4-6. TOTALS: 24, 111: 59.
Three pointers: Weirton2 (Shingler 2).