Friday, January 24, 2014

McGuffey girls holding strong during 21-game section winning streak

McGuffey junior Sammie Weiss
Sammie Weiss has rewritten McGuffey High School basketball’s record books since she began her career as a freshman. Last night, she had another memorable performance and this time, she even broke a record held by a player on the boys team.

With her third basket last night, Weiss became the school’s all-time leading scorer for boys or girls basketball. She finished with 22 points and the junior now holds the record with 1,446 career points, which was held by Seth Hunter.

It is incredible what Weiss has accomplished in less than three years at the high school level. She was named the Observer-Reporter’s Player of the Year last season and has picked up where she left off. Weiss is averaging 21.7 points per game for the Highlanders, who once again, sit atop Section 5-AA. One year after going undefeated in section play and advancing to the Class AA WPIAL quarterfinals, McGuffey (8-0, 14-3) is averaging a Class AA-best 65.5 points per game with no signs of slowing down.

Last year’s squad fell to Burrell, 61-41, in the WPIAL Tournament but with Weiss holding one more year of experience, this year’s Highlanders team is looking like they could be bound for the state tournament. This is not a one player show. Junior Rachel Czulewicz runs the point for McGuffey and is the anchor of the Highlanders’ offensive attack. She relays the plays from head coach Amanda Burchett to her teammates; mixing a combination of perimeter shooting with accurate passing.

When I covered the Highlanders’ matchup against Charleroi on Jan. 2, the Cougars attempted to put two defenders on Weiss during the first half, but the move freed Czulewicz up for uncontested shots. Charleroi was forced to adjust in the second half and the result was Weiss propelling the Highlanders to a 68-49 victory.

It will be interesting to see how McGuffey wraps up the season. They have a tough game on Monday when they travel to Charleroi (6-3, 15-4) for a rematch with the Cougars before facing Beth-Center, Wash High and South Side Beaver.

Weiss is one of the most talented girls basketball players in Western Pennsylvania, but Charleroi senior guard Mia Woytovich is not far behind. She is averaging 20.3 points per game for the Cougars and has Charleroi bound for the WPIAL playoffs. The matchup between the two players will be one to watch as Charleroi tries to break McGuffey’s 21-game winning streak in section play that dates back to Feb. 6, 2012.

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