MORRISTOWN - Down eight to a hot-shooting Union Local team Monday, visiting Indian Creek needed someone to step up and take control of the offense.
Junior Brooke Mains took it upon herself to be that someone, scoring six quick points off steals to close the half and bring her team within four at 26-22.
Later in the fourth, it was Mains again who answered the bell, scoring seven points down the stretch to lead her team to a 50-43 win against the Jets, securing the Buckeye 8 team championship in the process.
Mains finished with 16 points and sevens steals as Creek improved to 13-5 with back-to-back home dates against Cambridge and Wheeling Park waiting later in the week.
"I told her during a timeout that was what I liked to see out of my point guard," Indian Creek coach Erin DeSantis said. "She played with guts and didn't back down."
Mains played nearly the entire fourth quarter with three fouls and yet her tenacity on either end of the court never slacked off.
She slipped right, taking advantage of a screen and canned a triple with 4:17 left in the fourth, giving the visitors their first lead since starting off up 2-0 in the first.
That bucket was the midway point of a 12-0 run that saw Creek rally from down five to up seven.
Bri Berryman led the Redskins with 19 points but was battling through the flu virus. So when a big bucket was needed, it was Mains who answered the bell.
Defensively, the visitors made a few adjustments at halftime and finally managed to get a handle on the Jets' patient attack that was earlier effortlessly working the ball around the perimeter and producing open looks at the basket.
The Jets' trio of Dallas Montag, Kayla Doty and Cori Medley were on fire early, combing for 22 points at halftime.
Their inside game was relatively non-existent, what with the 6-foot-5 Berryman and 6-2 Kiarra Kamarec erecting a virtual no-fly zone within 10-feet, swatting anything that crossed their paths.
The Jets were content to shoot from the outside and they were getting open looks.
The problem came when Creek started fighting through screens and forcing quick shots in the second half. Now rushed, UL wasn't having quite the success. And when the home team deliberately slowed the tempo to run time off the clock, turnovers ensued.
"We were able to control the ball for the most part, but when we were deliberate and over emphasized being patient, we lost our composure and had turnovers," a disappointed Union Local coach Drew Greenwood said. "We know we can't beat good teams without good ball control. We were able to create with screen and get the mismatches we wanted early. But when you make bad plays against good teams it goes badly."
Union Local only committed 14 turnovers, but Creek, and Mains in particular, seemed to make the Jets pay for each and every one. Of her 16 points, eight were a direct result of steals she converted into a layup or a short jumper.
"I think in the fourth we wore them down a bit," DeSantis said. "No one was able to slack off. They have some many good shooters that you can't slack off. If you leave one open to help out with another, they will burn you."
Indian Creek 50, Union Local 43
Indian Creek 10 12 12 16 - 50
Union Local 17 9 10 7 - 43
INDIAN CREEK: Berryman 9 1-2 19; Kamarec 3 0-4 6; Mains 7 0-2 16; Davis 1 3-4 5; Shumko 1 3-4 5; Ruckman 0 0-0 0; Durbin 1 0-0 2; Totals: 22-45 4-12 50. 3-pointers: Mains 2.
UNION LOCAL: Doty 4 4-4 14; Stiles 1 0-2 2; Medley 6 0-0 14; Collins 1 0-0 2; Montag 3 0-0 9; Delaney 0 0-0 0; Patton 1 0-0 2; Totals: 16-46 4-6 43. 3-pointers: Doty 2, Medley 2, Montag 3.