RAYLAND - When Buckeye Local's Brooke Mains wasn't scoring, she was a thorn in Weir's side defensively as she led her Panthers to a 59-49 victory on Thursday.
Mains scored 24 points, but she may have hurt the Red Riders (1-6) even more with her nine steals and four assists. The sophomore just keeps getting better, according to Panthers coach Willy Luther.
''We had a rough start at 0-4, but we're 4-1 over the last five games,'' Luther said. ''We're a young group, but we're starting to come together. They're starting to believe in themselves. That's something we were lacking in the beginning of the year, but I'm very pleased with their efforts day in and day out.''
The starting lineups of both teams saw just one senior on the floor when the game started - Weir forward Taylor Ginangelli. Luther starts all underclassmen.
The Panthers' three-quarter court zone pressure took its toll on Weir forcing the inexperienced Red Riders guards into 22 turnovers in the game.
''We stress playing an area,'' Luther said. "We want them to play the girl in their area and when everyone plays good defense in their area, we end up with good team defense.''
Other than an early lead by Weir in the first quarter, Buckeye Local led throughout.
Junior center Kayla Fillipovich, who finished with 12 points, sank a layup at the 1:44 mark of the opening quarter to give the Panthers a 10-9 lead, which they never relinquished. When Weir closed to within two points to start the fourth quarter, Mains answered with back-to-back 3s.
''Their three-quarter court press definitely caused us some problems,'' Weir coach Bill Smith said. ''When you have people that are not experienced ballplayers, they tend to make mistakes and are a little tentative. Hopefully, we can get these things corrected.
''With that inexperience, we tend to play in spurts. We're working with them to become more consistent at both ends of the court. We are improving. There is some light at the end of that tunnel, but we still have a lot of work to do.''
Mains scored 14 of her 24 points in the first half including one of her three 3-pointers.
Despite her hot shooting, the Red Riders hung around. They were down by five at 42-37 going into the fourth quarter.
A 3-pointer from sophomore Alyssa Shingle 16 seconds into the period pulled the Red Riders to within two at 42-40, but Mains answered 21 seconds later with a 3. Shingle scored a basket but Mains tossed in another from behind the arc to open up a 48-42 Panthers lead.
That 3-pointer ignited an 8-0 Buckeye Local run. By the time Weir junior center Shelva Burns scored two from the foul line, the Panthers were ahead by 53-44 and in command of the game with 3:13 left on the clock.
Gianangelli finished the game with 14 points and also led the Red Riders with five rebounds. Shingle was the only other Rider in double figures with 12. Burns and freshman Regan Stead each tallied eight points.
Fillipovich backed up Mains with 12 points and freshman Lauren Swiger came off the bench to score nine points and haul in seven rebounds. Buckeye Local held the rebounding edge at 24-19.