BUCKHANNON — West Virginia AAAA’s #4-ranked team, the Buckhannon-Upshur girls’ varsity basketball Lady Buccaneers (6-1) lost their first game of the season, last Tuesday, January 4 at home against the North Marion Huskies (6-0).
The Lady Bucs uncharacteristically let an early lead get away from them, watching a 17-5 first quarter lead slowly slip away over the next three quarters. The lead allowed the Huskies to steal a road victory in the battle of previously undefeated teams.
After an offensive explosion in the first period, the team couldn’t seem to get shots to fall consistently, opening the window for a Huskies comeback. The Lady Bucs got outscored 10-4 in the second, letting their opponent remain in striking distance only down 21-15 at halftime.
The Lady Bucs hoped to rebound from a tough offensive outing following the halftime break. While their offense looked better in the third quarter, scoring 9 points, the B-U defense also allowed 14 points. In spite of a rough pair of quarters in the second and third, it seemed as if the Lady Bucs might still be able to overcome their cold shooting night, if they could find a rhythm in the final period. After three, the Lady Bucs found themselves nursing a one-point, 30-29 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Huskies seized control of the lead in the fourth and never relinquished it, outscoring the Lady Bucs 19-11 to close out the game.
With the 48-41 loss, the Lady Bucs suffer their first taste of defeat this season. This game is an experience that head coach Rob Kittle hopes his team is able to learn from and then put behind them. This game was a battle between team’s that really dedicate themselves on the defensive end, but the Huskies came out on top, despite a cold shooting night in their own right, only going 25% from the field as a team. Part of the Lady Bucs’ offensive issues on the night was dealing with the shot-blocking prowess of Huskies center Katlyn Carson, who managed to record. Both team’s posted season-scoring numbers of 48 and 41, respectively. Freshman forward Alyssa Abel was a bright spot on a rather off night for the Lady Bucs’ offensive, leading the team with 15 points.
When asked about his team’s first loss of the season, head coach Kittle put the Lady Bucs’ performance in perspective, saying, “I think that we executed our game plan well early on. As always, we wanted to be physical on the defensive end. As a team, I think that we did a really good job at limiting their opportunities for second chance points by keeping them off the offensive glass for much of the night. Despite the things that I feel that we did right, unfortunately we just had a poor night shooting the ball. In the end, this game came down to the fact that they were able to come up big and make plays down the stretch, while we didn’t.