Lady Bucs to face Spring Mills in tonight’s state-tourney opener

TENNERTON — Top-seed Buckhannon-Upshur begins Class AAA state tournament action today against Spring Mills.

The quarterfinal matchup is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. inside the Charleston Civic Center.

The Lady Bucs enter the eight-team tournament with a 24-1 record and winners of 20 straight games.

Head coach Jeremy Maxwell’s squad defeated Preston and Morgantown in sectional tournament action before running past John Marshall in a co-regional final to advance to Charleston for the fourth straight season.

Senior Hanna McClung tops the Lady Bucs in scoring with 20 points per game. The Lenoir-Rhyne signee also averages five assists and six steals.

She’s joined in the probably starting lineup by fellow seniors Lauren Bennett and McKinley Gaudet.

Bennett is averaging 14 points per game, while Gaudet is hitting for six points per game.

Juniors Alli Robinson and Audrey Gaudet complete the starting lineup.

Robinson is third in scoring with 8.0 points per night, while Gaudet averages six points and tops the team in rebounding.

First reserves off the bench include senior Ashton Maxwell, junior Leigh Ann Bennett and sophomore Brooklyn Maxwell.

B-U has rode its full-court, pressure defense in compiling a school-record 24 wins.

“We are at our best when our defense leads to points on the other end,” Maxwell said. “We want to force the other team into making turnovers and taking them out of what they want to do.”

The Cardinals, meanwhile, are the eighth seed. They earned a second straight trip to Charleston by knocking off homestanding Hampshire, 45-39.

Spring Mills is led in scoring by 5-7 senior point guard Emily Garland, who is hitting for 13 points per contest.

Jada Brooks, a 5-10 sophomore forward, netted 18 points in the win over Hampshire. Ivy Perkins, a 6-2 junior, is also an inside threat.

The teams last met in 2015, with the Lady Bucs taking a 39-35 victory in the Spring Mills Mixer.

Springs Mills did, however, play at Buckhannon-Upshur  High School during the Buccaneer Christmas Classic, dropping games to Spring Valley and Wheeling Park.

Today’s victor will face either Wheeling Park or George Washington in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

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