TENNERTON — Class AAA, No. 2 Buckhannon-Upshur used a career-setting night from Hanna McClung and held back a furious rally from Class AA, No. 3 Fairmont Senior to claim a thrilling 80-75 victory Friday night in front of a near-capacity crowd inside the B-UHS gymnasium.
McClung fired in 36 points, including five treys, and canned four free throws inside of six seconds remaining to secure the win.
“This was a big win for us,” Lady Buc head coach Jeremy Maxwell said. “Fairmont Senior has been one of the best girls basketball programs in the state for the last several years and have played in the Class AA championship game the last two seasons.
“The atmosphere for this game was awesome. I would like to thank the community for coming out and supporting us, and the B-U pep band really helped bring the energy. It was special evening for our program.”
Maxwell’s squad gave the home crowd and the school’s pep band plenty to celebrate early as it never trailed in the game after racing out to an 8-1 lead and taking a 21-17 cushion into the second quarter.
Leading 31-26 in the late stages of the second canto, the Lady Bucs embarked on a 10-2 run to end the frame with McClung knocking down back-to-back 3-pointers and lending an assist on Lauren Bennett’s layup to highlight the surge.
“We came out with a lot of intensity from the start and were able to channel that energy into productivity,” Maxwell said.
The lead swelled to as many as 20 points in the third frame before the Lady Polar Bears started their comeback.
After cutting the margin to 16, at 62-46, after three quarters, Fairmont Senior capitalized on some untimely Lady Buc turnovers to slowly chip away at the once-thought insurmountable cushion.
Sophomore forward Anysa Jordan, who finished with 27 points, led the rally for the Lady Polar Bears as her two free throws and putback tied the game at 73-73 with 1:43 left.
McClung’s layup off a steal then gave the Lady Bucs the lead back before another putback by Jordan once again tied the contest.
Junior Ashton Maxwell’s free throw on the other end, however, gave B-U the lead for good, at 76-75, with under a minute left in regulation.
The Lady Bucs regained the ball on the possession arrow with 25 ticks left and were able to kill most of the game clock until McClung was finally fouled with just six seconds remaining.
She calmly knocked down her attempts to make it 78-75 and added two more to preserve the win after being fouled after collecting a steal on the inbound play.
Bennett followed McClung with 16 points on the night. The junior guard also dished out five assists and collected four steals. McClung added five helpers and four steals to her game-high point total, while senior Lauren Louk chipped in eight points.
“Even when we went up 20 in the second half, we knew that they were going to make a run,”Jeremy Maxwell said. “I give our team credit for being able to make the plays needed in order to close out the game.”
The Lady Bucs, who were already without key reserve Audrey Gaudet with a broken arm, suffered another injury in the game when senior forward, second-leading scorer and top rebounder Makayla Reynolds went down with an ankle injury. She will be sidelined indefinitely.
“We are going to have to look at some different combinations [with our injuries],” coach Maxwell said. “To reach our goals, we’re going to have to fight some adversity and some other girls will step in and get more playing time.”
Courtney Wilfong and Abby Stoller also reached double figures with 10 each for the Lady Polar Bears, who are now 9-3 overall and 4-2 in Big 10 play.
“I give [Fairmont Senior] a lot of credit,” coach Maxwell said. “They have a very talented team and play very hard. But we were able to match their intensity.
“We still have a lot to work on but we will continue to take one game at time.”
The Lady Bucs improved to 10-2 overall and 4-1 in Big 10 play. They will step out of conference action at 3 p.m. today for a home contest against Capital and remain home at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to battle East Fairmont.
Fairmont Senior (9-3, 4-2 Big 10)
Erica Bowles 4 2-4 11, Anysa Jordan 8 10-12 27, Courtney Wilfong 5 0-0 10, Abby Stoller 2 6-8 10, Abby Faulkner 3 0-0 6, Angela DeLorenzo 2 0-1 5, Zyaira Little 1 0-0 2, Morgan Lilley 1 0-0 2. Totals 27 18-25 75
B-U (10-2, 4-1 Big 10)
Hanna McClung 11 9-12 36, Allie Robinson 2 1-2 5, McKinley Gaudet 2 0-1 4, Makayla Reynolds 1 1-2 4, Lauren Bennett 6 4-6 16, Lauren Louk 3 2-2 8, Ashton Maxwell 2 1-2 5, Tatiyana Caesar 1 0-0 2. Totals 28 18-27 80
Fairmont Senior 17 11 18 29 — 75
B-U 21 20 21 18 — 80
3-point goals: Fairmont Senior 3 (Bowles, Jordan, DeLorenzo), B-U 6 (McClung 5, Reynolds)