BUCKHANNON — After putting together a senior season, in which she surpassed the 1,000-career point milestone and led Buckhannon-Upshur to home-court advantage through the W.Va. Class-AAAA Region I finals, where they fell to talented the Wheeling Park Patriots, Lady Bucs star senior point guard/shooting guard Shelby McDaniels has been named the Big 10 Conference Player of the Year. After being named to the All-State Second-Team as a sophomore and junior, McDaniels never failed to do exactly what the team needed from her in each game. The senior combo guard expanded her leadership responsibilities and was more vocal than ever in uplifting her teammates. Her already impressive production took a dramatic jump from junior to senior season. McDaniels exits the B-UHS girls basketball program having left an impact that will be felt for years to come, as well as a legacy that this area will not soon forget.
The Lady Buccaneers Head Coach, Rob Kittle, won the Big 10 Conference Coach of the Year award after leading his team to an impressive 19-6 record, including a 10-2 record in conference play, good enough for a third-place finish within the conference. The Lady Bucs collected the Region I, Section II Class-AAAA championship on their home-court over the Bridgeport Indians before having their season come to an end against Wheeling Park.
Together, Kittle and McDaniels led the Lady Bucs to a sectional championship and just a game away from reaching Charleston. In compiling one of the most impressive seasons in school history, junior forward Kendal Currence and sophomore shooting guard/small power forward Gabby Parke proved to be the perfect complements to McDaniels. Both put together a strong 2021-22 campaign, earning them Big 10 All-Conference honors. Currence joined McDaniels on the Big 10 All-Conference First-Team after leading the team in rebounding. The junior forward proved to be a tough match for teams to handle in the post, scoring in the paint while protecting the paint defensively. Parke was named to the Big 10 All-Conference Second-Team as a rising sophomore. Parke played a key role as a secondary scorer and one of the team’s best ballhandlers, perimeter defenders and floor spacers. Both Parke and Currence will see their roles expanding going into next year. This duo is set to lead a talented returning core for Coach Kittle, as they look to rebuild from the loss of an exceptional senior class, consisting of McDaniels, Olivia Ellis and Kiara Woods.
Kittle spoke glowingly of his senior leader. “I am just so happy for Shelby on getting Big 10 Player of the Year. She is such an unbelievable hard-working girl and she was such a leader for us. I couldn’t be happier for her receiving this award, it is very well deserved,” said Kittle.
Coach Kittle also had high praise for his other two All-Conference honorees. “Both Kendal and Gabby worked so hard this year. Kendal was a very strong post presence for us all season long. Her underrated ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter really helped us open things up offensively as well. Gabby became more than just a catch and shoot, spot up jump shooter this year. She has already grown so much as a player and showed us this year that she has the ability to put the ball on the floor. They got stronger and that made our team better this year, I am so proud of them both,” said Kittle
“As for Coach of the Year, I feel that it is more of a team award. I think of this honor as a testament to how hard all the girls worked this year. I think that think we finished with the third most wins in a single season in program history and the girls grew so much this year. I couldn’t be more proud of the hard work all the girls put in,” concluded Kittle.
McDaniels took a moment to talk about being named Big 10 Player of the Year. “Being named the Conference Player of the Year has been such an honor and a humbling experience overall. I think for me being named the Player of the Year along with Kittle being named the Coach of the Year, I wouldn’t have wanted this award to come with any other team or coach. I’m thankful for everything that I’ve been recognized for and I give all the glory to God,” said McDaniels.
The Fairmont Senior Polar Bears, led by back-to-back Mary Ostrowski award winner Marley Washenitz and first-team Big 10 selection, won the Big 10 Conference championship, compiling a 26-2 overall record, including a 14-1 record against Big 10 Conference opposition. The Polar Bears only two losses of the year came against the Wheeling Park Patriots, who knocked the Lady Bucs out of the running, back at the end of January and then against Logan County in the state championship game by a narrow, one-point margin.
Big 10 All-Conference First-Team:
Shelby McDaniels (B-U)
Marley Washenitz (Fairmont Senior)
Meredith Maier (Fairmont Senior)
Avery Childers (RCB)
Gabby Reep (Bridgeport)
Olivia Toland (North Marion)
Carsynn Sines (Preston)
Katlyn Carson (North Marion)
Kelly Rodgers (East Fairmont)
Anna Balen (Elkins)
Kendal Currence (B-U)
Ashlyn Riley (Lincoln)
Braylyn Sparks (Philip Barbour)
Big 10 All-Conference Second-Team:
Emma Elliott (Liberty)
Emma Freels (North Marion)
Alyssa Satterfield (Grafton)
Emma Pinkney (Lewis)
Gabby Parke (B-U)
Gracelyn Corley (Elkins)
Averi Carpenter (Philip Barbour)
Hailey Haynes (Liberty)
Emily Starn (Fairmont Senior)
Martina Howe (RCB)
Arrington Sparks (Philip Barbour)
Megan Tucker (Lincoln)