West Xtra: Riverside grad Weir gets a new start at Point Park


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As a Seton Hill University assistant at the time, Tony Grenek went to the 2012 Roundball Classic to scout Keystone Oaks guard Alexa Xenakis. At the postseason all-star game, Xenakis stood out but so did another player, Riverside forward Samantha Weir.

Weir ended up attending Seton Hill, but Grenek moved on to Point Park University to take over as head coach.

"Alexa and Samantha were probably the best two players in that game," Grenek said.

Fast forward to this summer: Weir was looking for a new school to play basketball and Grenek was looking to add another quality forward. On June 27, Weir officially signed with Point Park.

Weir, an Ellwood City resident, averaged 18.9 points and 10 rebounds per game her senior year at Riverside in 2011-12. She did not play in any games last season at Seton Hill so she will have four years of eligibility remaining.

"I am so excited to play again. It has been horrible not playing," she said. "When [Tony Grenek] called me, it was perfect timing, I really didn't know what I was going to do. I was getting nervous."

After hearing that Weir was no longer playing at Seton Hill, Grenek got in touch with her. There was even a chance Weir could have joined the team last season for the final eight regular-season games but Grenek and Weir decided to wait until this season.

"She came down to visit and enjoyed it," Grenek said. "We agreed to have her come aboard with a fresh start."

A 6-foot forward, Weir scored 1,090 career points at Riverside while leading the Panthers to three WPIAL section titles. She was named team MVP and to the all-section team as a junior and senior. At the Roundball Classic where Grenek first saw Weir play, she was named MVP.

"She has really good size," Grenek said. "And she has good footwork and speed for her size. She goes to the bucket hard, aggressively. She attacks the rim and rebounds the ball well. You don't find a lot of players her size with that type of footwork. The majority of times when you are out recruiting, you see players 5-6, 5-7. Samantha is a good, solid post player who can definitely defend and rebound. That has kind of been our mark since I have been at Point Park, outrebound and outdefend the other team."

Weir joins a Point Park program that has made back-to-back trips to the NAIA Division II national tournament, and the Pioneers return three of five starters from a 25-7 team that set a program record for wins. In Grenek's first two years, Point Park was 48-14 overall with two conference championships.

The Pioneers roster is stockpiled with WPIAL talent. Of the 17 players on the 2012-13 roster, 12 were from WPIAL schools.

"It is huge," Grenek said of adding WPIAL talent. "It definitely helps in regards to fan support. Point Park women's basketball hasn't been the most talked about women's basketball program and we are trying to change that. We want to change that thought about us. We are starting to get tremendous recruits locally."

For the upcoming season, Grenek will add Weir along with Carly Forse and Celina DiPietro, teammates from 2013 PIAA Class AA champion Bishop Canevin, and Rebecca Babincak, a standout from Deer Lakes.

"The word is starting to get out that we are running a very good basketball program," Grenek said. "We are getting girls who are capable of playing in the PSAC [in Division II] and they chose us."

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