By MIKE MATHISON
For The Intelligencer
STEUBENVILLE - The Steubenville Big Red boys' basketball team earned a 69-54 victory against visiting Weir on Tuesday in the Crimson Center.
''The kids gutted it out,'' Big Red coach Mike Haney said. ''Their effort was outstanding. They played with unbelievable composure. The first couple of minutes they were a little eractic, but after that we got focused. Everybody who came off the bench played with a great deal of effort.
''What a gutty performance by our kids.''
Big Red held a 29-28 lead at halftime and a 37-36 lead in the third quarter, but went on a 10-0 spurt in the blink of an eye for a 47-36 cushion.
''We would have a five or six-point lead and they would cut it to one,'' Haney said. ''That happened several times. But, once we got that spurt, we kept the lead there. We got some easy transition baskets and Periogn (West) hit for five in a row there.''
West buried a trey, then kissed a runner off the glass to lead the charge into a double-digit advantage.
''I thought Big Red's pressure defense was exceptional. You have to protect the ball, especially against a defense like Big Red's,'' Red Riders coach Mike Granato said. ''Steubenville's kids did a great job of getting after it.
''I thought our kids played hard defensively. I thought our kids gave a great effort. We got our hands on a lot of balls, had a lot of deflections, but we didn't get a lot of easy baskets. We need to have easy baskets and we didn't get those. We had a lot of missed opportunities offensively.
''We need to put together 32 minutes together both offensively and defensively. Saturday we went down to Ritchie County and played a great offensive game, but we were miserable defensively.''
After the 10-0 run, Big Red did a good job of protecting the ball, being patient on offense and hitting free throws. Steubenville was 7-for-9 in the fourth quarter from the line.
''I'm just proud of our kids,'' Haney said. ''They got after it defensively. Big Red has been known to always play good defense and we did that.''
William Houst led Big Red's charge with a game-high 15 points. West and Malik Richmond each added 13 points.
''We've done a good job this year with balanced scoring,'' Haney said of his 9-4 squad. ''We can't rely on one guy every game. We have to have contributions from everyone.''
Mike Drizake and Harley Mills each scored 12 to lead the Red Riders. Freshman James Carnes added eight.