SALEM — The Effingham Lady Hearts were able to add an all-conference level player this season with junior guard Abby Weis choosing to leave St. Anthony to transfer to Effingham.
Weis attended Effingham Junior High all the way through eighth grade, winning an IESA state championship in 2014, then transferred to St. Anthony at the start of her freshman year in 2015.
For St. Anthony last season, Weis was the true catalyst of the offense, leading the team with 12.6 points per game in 2016, while dishing out 3.5 assists per game and shooting nearly 40 percent from deep as a sophomore. She shared the National Trail Conference’s Most Valuable Player award with Neoga senior Jaycie Roy.
As a junior, Weis will now join a backcourt that’s as talented as they come, featuring All-Apollo First Teamer and EDN Player of the Year Carsyn Fearday, who averaged 15.4 points per game while working hard crashing the boards, collecting nearly six per game.
In addition to Fearday, Weis will also join All-Apollo Second Team guard Miranda Fox, who averaged 9.6 points per game while serving as one of the team’s main facilitators, averaging four assists per game.
Effingham coach Jeff Schafer even cracked a smile when asked to comment about what Weis brings to the team.
“It gives us a lot of depth,” said Schafer. “Now we’ve got two all-conference level point guards, an extra shooter, and someone who can make free throws at the end of the game.”
On Thursday, the team traveled to Salem to take part in a slew of summer games for the SIBC, mostly to give Schafer and idea of what he has to work with going into the fall.
In a 34-29 loss to Civic Memorial Purple, Weis looked solid, filling the lanes well in addition to tenacious defense both on and off the ball. She also displayed excellent vision in transition, picking up two assists and was able to knock down a three as well.
“I’ve seen her play forever,” said Schafer. “She all of a sudden becomes one of the best passers we have.”
Despite Weis’ natural talent, Schafer knows how important it is that she get used to playing with the Flaming Hearts again.
“Now it’s about getting her to gel with the players we already have and keep the chemistry we had last season,” Schafer said.
In the last game of the day, Weis looked much more comfortable out there, pulling the trigger when given the opportunity and finishing the game with seven points and two assists in a 28-13 win.
Effingham graduated four seniors in Sydney Webster, Riya Shah, Mikayla Greene and Alexis Damron off a 26-5 squad. Webster was a rotation player among the four, and Weis comes in to a strong core in Fearday, Fox, Shelby Myers, Aly Armstrong, Natalie Carie, Bria Barr and Skyler Schafer.
The process of integrating Weis into the flow offensively and defensively starts with summer ball, and Effingham will host its own SIBC from June 21-24.
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