TENNERTON — The Buckhannon-Upshur High School girls varsity basketball team (7-3) was back in action last Saturday, January 15, as they played host to the Martinsburg Lady Bulldogs (0-7). In hopes of beating Martinsburg, the Lady Bucs would need to find a level of consistency that has alluded them so far in the 2021-22 season.
The Lady Bucs got off to a promising start with versatile sophomore wing Gabby Parke and the team’s senior leader, Shelby McDaniels, who combined for 11 of the team’s 14 points in the opening quarter. At the end of the first quarter, the B-U team led the Lady Bulldogs by a score of 14-8. The B-U girl’s potent duo stayed hot in the second quarter, again carrying the load offensively, combining for 13 of the team’s 19 points in the period. The team held a solid lead going into the locker-room for halftime, with a score of 33-15. By the intermission, McDaniels and Parke had scored 27 of the team’s total, 33, points.
While the Lady Bucs big second quarter allowed them to extend the lead, the team really seized control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Bulldogs 20-12. This brought the score to a whopping 53-27 at the end of the third quarter. With a commanding 26-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter, the Lady Bucs eased up, rotating in some reserves which culminated in them getting outscored 8-2 in the game’s final period. In the end, in spite of a less than stellar fourth quarter, in which they only managed to score 2 points as a team, the Lady Bucs did more than enough to close out the Lady Bulldogs, winning by a final score of 55-35.
The 20-point victory over one of the Mountain State’s traditional athletic powerhouse programs was perhaps the Lady Bucs most complete performance to date. Following previous games, head coach Rob Kittle has stressed the importance of putting together a full four quarters in order to close out top-notch teams, such as the Lady Bulldogs. While Kittle had been urging for his team to compete for a full four quarters for the past few weeks, his team responded by essentially sealing the deal against Martinsburg by the end of the third quarter. Aside from the game’s fourth quarter. In doing so, aside from the fourth quarter, the Lady Bucs finally found some semblance of consistency from their sometimes-streaky offense that their coach had been preaching about.
With the win over the Lady Bulldogs, the Lady Bucs improve their mark on the season to 8-3, while the winless Lady Bulldogs will continue to seek their first win of their year, dropping to 0-8 on the year. Overall, Kittle was pleased with how his team played, stating, “I am happy with the way we played tonight. I thought we were aggressive on the defensive end and offensively we shared the ball well. The girls have bought in this season and worked their tails off to shine in games like this one.”
The Lady Bucs ran their offense primarily through McDaniels, who ended the night with 23 points to lead all scorers. McDaniels hit 8 2-point field goals, 2 3-point field goals, and shot 1-3 from the free throw line. As usual the varsity team played their best when the senior guard stayed aggressive. Not only did McDaniels act as the Lady Bucs main scoring option, she also was primary ball-handler and playmaker, often setting up her teammates in perfect position to score. Defensively, she is also one of the team’s best on-ball defenders, applying constant pressure that played a huge part in locking the Lady Bulldogs down, forcing several steals and turnovers that led to the Lady Bucs getting out and running in transition.
Parke finished the game as the Lady Bucs second leading scorer, netting 17 total points on 3 made 2-point field goals, 3 made 3-point field goals, and 2-4 (50%) shooting from the free throw line. Parke wasted no time making her mark on the game, scoring 7 points in the first quarter alone. The sophomore wing built on a solid opening period by staying aggressive in both the second and third quarters, adding 10 points over that span to round out her scoring numbers on the evening. It could be argued that Parke was possibly the game’s most valuable player, playing a pivotal role on both sides of the ball to help the Lady Bucs build up a comfortable margin heading into the fourth quarter.
Junior forward Kendal Currence was the Lady Bucs most consistent interior presence against Martinsburg, she played with great effort, attacking the boards and pulling down rebounds. Currence finished the game with 6 points, hitting 3 2-point field goals to complement her strong performance on defense and glass.
Sophomore guard Kenna Maxwell scored all 5 of her points against the Lady Bulldogs in the third quarter, hitting both a 2-point field goal and a 3-point field goal as part of a 20-point quarter for the team.
Both sophomore Kyndal Davis and freshman Alyssa Abel chipped in 2 points apiece in the second quarter, to register their only buckets in the game against the Lady Bulldogs to round out the Lady Bucs scoring statistics on the night.