BUCKHANNON — The Buckhannon-Upshur High School girls’ varsity basketball team found themselves slightly overwhelmed by the Wheeling Park Patriots at home this past Saturday, January 8. With the 73-44 loss, the Lady Buccaneers dropped their second straight game. The past two games, against the North Marion Huskies and the Patriots, have gotten away from head coach Rob Kittle’s team. The ladies have struggled to find consistency on both sides of the ball during the two-game skid. Without putting together a complete four-quarter performance, the Lady Bucs have had trouble of late maintaining their high-level of play from earlier in the season.
The Lady Bucs fell behind early getting outscored 17-10 in the first quarter. Despite only being down 7 after the first period, the girls struggled mightily on both sides of the ball for stretches of the second, allowing the Patriots to build on their lead. The Patriots outscored the B-U team 23-6 in the second quarter to take a huge 40-16 lead into the locker-room for halftime.
Coming out of the locker room after the halftime intermission, the Lady Bucs put together their best offensive quarter of the game, scoring 16 points in the third. Despite an admirable effort, the Patriots offense proved to be a tough matchup, still narrowly outscoring the Lady Bucs. 18-16, maintaining their big lead. At the start of the fourth and final quarter, B-U found themselves staring down a 26-point deficit, down 58-32. The Lady Bucs played marginally better on defense in the fourth quarter, holding Wheeling Park to a reasonable 15 points scored in the game’s final period. However, the team couldn’t seem to find a rhythm offensively, only scoring 12 points in the fourth, falling short of generating a late run at the Patriots’ lead. In the end, the Lady Bucs fell short, losing by 29 points, 73-44.
While it was a game that Kittle’s team will be glad to put behind them, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Do-it all senior guard Shelby McDaniels was a bright light in a rather forgettable game for the Lady Bucs. McDaniels scored a team-high 18 points, hitting 4 2-point field goals and 3 3-point field goals. McDaniels, an excellent free throw shooter, uncharacteristically went 1-3 from the free throw line. McDaniels got off to a solid offensive start, scoring 7 points in the first quarter alone. While the senior had an unusually quiet second quarter, failing to register a single point in the period; McDaniels rebounded in the second half, scoring 11 points after halftime.
Guard Kenna Maxwell was the team’s second leading scorer in the loss, finishing with 7 points, hitting 2 2-point field goals and a single 3-point field goal. Both Gabby Parke and forward Kendal Currence finished the game with 6 points each, while forward Alyssa Abel added 5 points on her own. Rosie Shackleford chipped in 2 points to round out the scoring for the Lady Bucs against the Patriots.
Following the game, when asked what it will take for his Lady Bucs to get back to their winning ways, coach Kittle summed it up saying, “We need to find a way to be more consistent. We have played well in spurts during the last two games, but you can’t beat a quality team without playing a complete four quarters. We let North Marion come back after having a large lead in the first quarter and tonight we couldn’t seem to get going.”
The Lady Bucs will look to get their season back on track with games against Liberty, Fairmont Senior, and Martinsburg on the slate this week.