BUCKLEY — If there’s anyone excited about starting their season with a win, it’s the Buckley girls basketball team.

The Bears started the 2021-22 season 0-18 after not having a 2020-21 season, which set back preparation time. Being able to prepare and having a lot more to work with, they ran away with a 50-29 road win against Forest Area.

“We played the game we wanted to play. We pushed it up the floor and that's something that we worked on all the last two weeks,” Buckley coach Doug Moyer said. “We have a very young and inexperienced team when you consider last year was the first year back with the team.

“Lots of mistakes and things we can work on, but for the home opener to start that way compared to how we started last year, it was a great feeling.”

Buckley had its bumps in the road with the girls basketball program over the years. For the past eight years, the Bears haven’t fielded a junior varsity team until this season — who also started with a 35-19 win against Glen Lake.

The last season-opening win came in the 2019-20 season against Mesick. Just like that season opener, the Bears received contributions from everyone on the court.

Senior Taylor Matthews has been known to be a dominant force in the paint for the Bears as she had a team-high 17 points, eight rebounds and three steals. The freshmen stepped up big for the Bears tonight with Allie Brimmer sinking in 12 points, and Kayla Milarch adding nine points while going 2-for-2 behind the 3-point line. Maddie Chilson had four points and nine rebounds.

Junior Aiden Harrand is not only the fastest player on the court by using her all-state speed, but is one of the smallest point guards on the floor, as she had a team-high 10 rebounds while mustering five points and four steals.

“We are in a pretty talented conference — the Northwest is always pretty tough,” Moyer said. “We're hoping to be more competitive this year and I know we still have a young team, but no better way to start the season off for the girls than with a W.”

The Bears don’t get their first taste of conference play this season until Dec. 9 — when they travel to Kingsley, but in the meantime, the Bears travel to Mesick on Wednesday for the Bulldog's season opener.

GIRLS HOOPS

Manistee 43

Pine River 38

Manistee: Libby McCarthy 14 points, 8 rebounds; Jayna Edmondson 9 points; Abby Robinson 8 steals.

UP NEXT: Manistee (1-0) travels to Mason County Central, Tuesday.

Central Lake 57

Ellsworth 11

Central Lake: Liberty Perry 22 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists; Kate Wolgamot 11 points, 8 steals; Emma Woollard 9 points; Journey Hutchins 8 points, 7 rebounds; Alivia Eggleston 7 points, 14 rebounds, 9 steals.

Ellsworth: Bella Essenburgh 7 points, 7 rebounds; Samantha Paalman 8 rebounds.

UP NEXT: Ellsworth (1-0) plays host to Bellaire on Wednesday; the Trojans travel to Grand Traverse Academy on Wednesday.

Brethren 36

Harrison 24

Brethren: Olivia Sexton 6 points, 4 rebounds, 6 steals; Maddy Biller 4 points, 5 rebounds; Stella Estex 9 rebounds, 3 points; Elly Sexton 19 points, 18 rebounds

UP NEXT: Bobcats travel to Mesick on Friday to open their West Michigan D League season opener.

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