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PORT BYRON — Weedsport nipped any Port Byron momentum in the bud.

The Warriors finished the first quarter with a commanding 22-8 lead and stopped the Panthers from going on any extended runs, as the Weedsport girls basketball topped rival Port Byron, 70-57, in Port Byron Thursday.

For Panthers coach Mindy Gilbert, the score wasn't indicative of just how close the game was.

"It could've gone either way. At one point, we'd come down and shoot a 3 and they'd answer with a 3," Gilbert said. "It was back and forth and we just couldn't get an edge to break their lead. If you pick up the paper and see a 13-point game or if you were here, it's two separate things. I really believe that was an exciting game."

Weedsport had four players finish in double figures. Brooke Hammersley led the way with 16 points, Cassi Carroll added 14 points, Sydney Gilfus had 12 points and Suzie Nemec tallied 10 points.

"Balance," Warriors coach Chris Vargason said. "That's the way it's been all year so far. We're getting good balance out of everyone."

Ava Mills paced the Panthers with a game-high 26 points. The junior had 12 points in the third quarter alone.

"She played phenomenal," Gilbert said. "She played aggressive and attacked the basket. She wanted to make things happen, and she really played well."

Port Byron's Grace Ford added 17 points.

The Warriors went on a 10-point run to take a commanding 13-3 lead in the first quarter, and led 22-8 by the end of the first eight minutes.

Port Byron kept pace in the second quarter and Weedsport took a 34-19 lead into halftime, but the Warriors pulled away with a 26-20 advantage in the third quarter.

The Panthers rallied in the fourth. They outscored the Warriors 18-10, but were never able to gain the momentum. Any big bucket was answered at the other end.

"They went on runs and we went on runs. Basketball is a game of runs," Vargason said. "Down the stretch they got hot, and had four or five 3-pointers. ... It's just a game of runs."

Weedsport (5-0) takes on reigning Section III, Class D champion Waterville on Saturday, while Port Byron (0-2) travels to Tully on Monday.

"They lost one guard, but they have everyone else back," Vargason said of Waterville. "It'll be a measuring stick. ... It'll be a good test for us."

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Sports writer Jeremy Houghtaling can be reached at 315-282-2256 or at jeremy.houghtaling@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenHough.

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