Lady Bucs cruise by Preston in sectional opener

TENNERTON — The top-ranked Buckhannon-Upshur girls opened postseason play with a convincing win over Preston Tuesday night in Class AAA, Region 1, Section 2  tourney play.

The Lady Bucs, winners of 18 straight games and 22-1 on the season, were scheduled to host Morgantown on Thursday night — the victor hosting a co-regional final on Tuesday, while the loser taking to the road against the section 1 winner.

“I was pleased overall with the effort and performance against Preston,” B-U coach Jeremy Maxwell said of his team’s 73-44 victory over the Knights in front of a packed B-UHS gymnasium on Tuesday. “Preston has a good game plan and was able to have some success early [against us].

“We had to make a few adjustments with our defensive rotations in the second [quarter] and that allowed us some live-ball turnovers and easy layups.”

The Lady Bucs held an eight-point lead, at 21-13, after one quarter before breaking the game open in the decisive second frame behind their pressure defense.

B-U limited the Knights to just one field goal, while netting 19 points, a majority coming off Preston turnovers. Senior Ashton Maxwell capped the big quarter by chasing down a loose rebound and draining a jumper as time expired to send the Lady Bucs into the halftime with a comfortable 40-15 advantage.

“We are at our best when we were able to get points from our defense,” coach Maxwell added.

B-U outscored Preston 20-12 in the third quarter to increase its lead to 33, at 60-27, entering the final frame.

“There are times I find myself yelling and getting frustrated about something, then I look up at the scoreboard and we are up [by] 30 or 40 points,” Maxwell said. “We set such a high standard for ourself and we are never satisfied with our performance.

“That’s the way you have to be in order to find success.”

Hanna McClung fired in 23 points, including 15 in the first half, to lead the Lady Bucs against Preston. She was joined in double figures by Lauren Bennett with 13, junior Alli Robinson with 12 and senior McKinley Gaudet with 10.

Audrey Gaudet added seven rebounds, McClung six assists and eight steals, Bennett four helpers and McKinley Gaudet four steals.

Preston, which ended the season 11-12, was led by Kirsten Brown with 14 points and Makenzie Friend with 13.

Maxwell acknowledged Thursday night’s clash against No. 3 Morgantown will be a huge test for his squad.

The Lady Bucs won both regular-season meetings but had to rally in the fourth quarter to claim last month’s 63-55 win at home.

“I like where we are right now,” he said. “We have been really focused in practice which has turned into productivity on the court.

“Morgantown is always a tough one for us.

“We need to be firing on all cylinders, because we know they are always ready for us.”

The Mohigans defeated University, 63-32, on Tuesday night to advance.

The section 1 tournament began on Wednesday night with No. 2-seed Brooke defeating third-seed John Marshall.

Brooke will now travel to top-seed Wheeling Park this evening.

The boxscore:

Preston (11-12)

Kirsten Brown 6 2-5 14, Michelle Thomas 1 0-0 2, Tori Garlits 2 1-2 5, Makenzie Friend 3 5-6 13, Taylor Mayne 2 2-2 6, Leah Clarkson 1 0-0 2, Macie Roy 1 0-0 2, Kylie Fulton 0 0-0 0, Chesney Manko 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 10-15  44

Buckhannon-Upshur  (22-1)

Hanna McClung 8 3-4 23, Alli Robinson 2 8-8 12, McKinley Gaudet 4 0-0 10, Lauren Bennett 6 0-0 13, Audrey Gaudet 2 2-2 6, Brooklyn Maxwell 1 0-0 2, Ashton Maxwell 2 1-2 5, Leigh Ann Bennett 0 0-0 0, Morgan Parsons 0 0-0 0, Kassidy Wilfong 0 0-0 0, Ciara Melton 0 0-0 0, Kennedy Samargo 0 0-0 0, McKenzie Reynolds 0 0-0 0, Alayna Nesbitt 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 16-18 73

Preston                       13   2  12  17 — 44

Buckhannon-Upshur 21 19  20  13 — 73

3-point goals: PHS 2 (Friend 2), B-U 7 (McClung 4, M. Gaudet 2, Lauren Bennett).

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