TENNERTON — The Buckhannon-Upshur girls continued their success against state-ranked opponents on Tuesday night.
This one, however, may have topped the others as the third-ranked Lady Bucs used a spirited second-half rally, some buzzer-beating shots and clutch contributions throughout the lineup in defeating No. 4 Morgantown, 53-48, in an overtime thriller.
The victory also kept B-U in the chase for the top seed in the upcoming sectional tournament and avenged a setback at Morgantown earlier this month when the three-time Class AAA state champion Lady Mohigans pulled away for a 62-44 win.
“I thought our team showed a lot of heart and resiliency,” said Lady Bucs coach Jeremy Maxwell, whose team has now defeated five teams currenly ranked among the Class AAA and double-A top 10. “We had about 100 chances for the girls to give up but they kept fighting until the end, and this was one of the most complete wins we’ve had since I’ve been coaching here.”
Tuesday night’s clash appeared to be headed for another Morgantown win as the Lady Bucs trailed 14-2 after one quarter and by as many as 18 points in the second canto.
But junior guard McKinley Gaudet’s 3-pointer from 30-feet away as time expired in the first half allowed B-U to cut the lead to 11, at 25-14, and give the hosts some much-need momentum.
“We were very passive again [with our play] in the first half like we were in the first game with them,” Maxwell said. “I thought McKinley’s shot was a huge turning point in the game, though.
“We were able to crank up the intensity in the second half to where we needed to be and we kept chipping away.”
The Lady Bucs continued their comeback in the third quarter, dwindling the deficit to just five points (28-23) heading into the fourth frame.
Morgantown answered, though, in the early stages of the final quarter with a 3-pointer by Lydia Adrian and later on a rainbow jumper from Aliyssa Neal in reestablishing an eight-point lead, at 33-25, with 6:00 remaining.
B-U then scored the game’s next eight points to deadlock the contest at 33-33.
Ashton Maxwell scored from inside the lane to start the surge, McClung knocked down a pair of free throws and darted in for a layup and Lauren Bennett put in another short basket to tie the score.
After Morgantown later forged ahead 36-34, the Lady Bucs took their first lead since the opening quarter when sophomore Alli Robinson knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:32 left in the contest.
An Adrian putback on the other end gave the Lady Mohigans the lead back and a free throw later pushed the margin to two, at 39-37, with :30 remaining.
Two more free throws from Adrian made it 41-37 to set up the dramatic finish in regulation.
A long trey by Ashton Maxwell with :10 left brought the Lady Bucs to within one, at 41-40, and Adrian was fouled on the other end.
After missing her first attempt, the senior standout knocked in the second to give the Lady Mohigans a two-point cushion with just :3.7 left.
On the inbound pass, Robinson fired a baseball pass to Bennett, who made the catch and banked in the tying basket with a runner from the free-throw line to set up a wild celebration.
The Lady Bucs never looked back in overtime after McClung started the extra session with a nice cross-over dribble to freeze the Morgantown defender and knocked down a 3-pointer.
They didn’t trail again as Robinson added a pair of free throws and Bennett another to stretch the margin to six, at 48-42, with 2:00 left.
A putback by the Lady Mohigans’ Fallon Nicholson later cut the deficit to 51-48 with :18 seconds left but Robinson sealed the deal after converting a layup off an assist from McClung.
“The ending was unbelievable, from Ashton nailing that long [3-pointer] to bring the lead down to one to the [pass] from Alli to Lauren,” coach Maxwell said.
“These girls literally fought until the last second of the game.”
McClung fired in 17 points and dished out six assists to lead the Lady Bucs. Bennett added 12 points, Robinson seven and Ashton Maxwell and Lauren Louk six each.
Adrian led all scorers with 23 points for Morgantown. Nicholson chipped in 12.
“We really have something special brewing here,” Jeremy Maxwell said. “With all the injuries and adversity we have had [to face], the girls could have given up and no one would have blamed them, but they still want it.
“We hold our own destiny for a Big 10 Conference title as well as hosting sectionals. We just need to stay focused and take it one game at a time.”
B-U is now 14-2 overall, while Morgantown dropped to 9-5.
Both squads are 3-1 vs. sectional opponents.
The Lady Bucs will be back in action at 7:30 p.m. today at Philip Barbour for a Big 10 contest.
Lydia Adrian 8 5-6 23, Fallon Nicholson 5 1-2 12, Aliyssa Neal 3 0-0 6, Cassie Parks 0 1-2 1, Domenique Hunter 2 0-0 4, Alexi Sokos 0 1-2 1, Sydni Clawges 0 1-2 1. Totals 18 9-15 48
Hanna McClung 6 3-4 17, Alli Robinson 2 2-2 7, Lauren Bennett 5 2-5 12, Lauren Louk 2 2-7 6, Ashton Maxwell 2 1-2 6, McKinley Gaudet 1 2-2 5, Audrey Gaudet 0 0-0 0, Brooklyn Maxwell 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 12-24 53
Morgantown 14 11 3 14 6 — 48
B-U 2 12 9 19 11 — 53
3-point goals: Morgantown 3 (Adrian 2, Nicholson), B-U 5 (McClung 2, Robinson, Ashton Maxwell and McKinley Gaudet)