B-UHS cruises in state tourney

Junior guard Hanna McClung led Buckhannon-Upshur with 15 points against St. Albans Wednesday.

CHARLESTON — The third time proved to be the charm for Buckhannon-Upshur Wednesday as the Class AAA No. 2 Lady Buccaneers upended No. 7 St. Albans 56-36 during the second game of the morning on opening day of the state tournament.

This year marks the third straight trip to the state tourney for the Lady Bucs.

Next up for B-UHS will be a 9 p.m. contest Friday when they will take on the winner of today’s matchup between No. 3 Martinsburg (23-2) and No. 6 Wheeling Park (18-6). Buckhannon improved to 23-3, and will be riding a six-game win streak into that contest.

“We knew St. Albans was going to come out and play hard. They are very physical and tough around the glass,” B-U coach Jeremy Maxwell said. “We also knew the key in the game was going to be shot selection. For the most part, we were able to move the ball and make them work on defense to get easy shots, though we got away from that a little in the second quarter.”

Buckhannon manufactured an 18-7 lead to start the second stanza, but scoring during the next two quarters was a grind. With a 25-15 lead to open the second half, B-UHS kept the Lady Red Dragons at arm’s length by way of a 13-all stalemate in the third period.

Clamping down during the final eight minutes, the Buccaneers rattled off an 18-8 last frame to build upon their 10-point lead.

Stat sheet totals gave evidence of where the rubber met the road to help B-U send St. Albans packing toward the equipment manager’s office to turn things in for the season. Buckhannon’s squad rotated in 18 points off the bench.

“We got some good bench play, especially from McKinley Gaudet hitting some big shots from the outside,” Maxwell said. “Now we have to stay focused and realize we are only one game away from a shot at the state championship.”

Gaudet was big Wednesday with a 4-of-6 performance, firing in all 12 of her points from behind the arc, and inked 2 each for steals and assists. Hanna McClung made a pair from 3-point range en route to a game-high 15 points, recorded 5 rebounds and passed out 3 assists. Makayla Reynolds recorded 12 points, 6 boards and 2 takeaways.

St. Albans was paced by Jaden McDaniels, who shared game-high honors with 15 points, and added 4 rebounds, while Haleigh Legg landed a game-high 9 boards for the Red Dragons.

If Buckhannon-Upshur is victorious in Friday’s semi-final, they will play in the AAA title game slated for Saturday at 7:15 p.m. in Charleston.