CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Hanna McClung scored 15 points and Class AAA No. 2 Buckhannon-Upshur set the tone early in beating No. 7 St. Albans 56-36 during Wednesday’s state quarterfinal.
The Buccaneers (23-3) jumped out to a 15-2 advantage in the first quarter, making 7-of-10 shots, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range.
“It’s always nice to see that one go in right off the bat, because then you know it’s going to be a good day,” said Buckhannon-Upshur coach Jeremy Maxwell. “When you see that, it opens up your game and makes the opposing defense spread out a little bit, which gives us more room inside.”
St. Albans (17-9) answered with a 13-5 run to cut the lead to 20-15, but the Buccaneers recovered to lead 25-15 at the break.
The teams traded baskets in the third as the Buccaneers maintained a 10-point lead, 38-28, heading into the fourth.
“I definitely thought that we came out with the energy that we needed,” said McClung. “We came out fast and hard, which is what we wanted. When we got that lead, it was a cushion for when slipped a bit in the second quarter. But we were able to redeem ourselves, pick it up and go on runs when we needed to.
The Buccaneers shot 50 percent from the floor overall and made 6-of-11 from beyond the arc.
Jaden McDaniels scored 15 points to pace St. Albans, which was making its first state tournament appearance since 1995.
“We have been successful in the past of battling back, but an 18-7 deficit after the first quarter is a big hole to dig out of,” said St. Albans coach Scott James. “But our girls didn’t quit. They fought and they fought hard.”
It’s Buckhannon-Upshur’s third straight trip to the state tournament as the previous two quarterfinals both resulted in losses.
“The state tournament is a goal for every team to make it here. There’s nothing like the environment of being in the Civic Center,” McClung said. “Coming in this year we just have a lot more confidence after the wins we already have from the season. As the No. 2 seed, we know we have the talent to do this and coming out with a victory in the first game is exactly what we wanted. We were ready.”
Buckhannon-Upshur moves on to face either No. 3 Martinsburg or No. 6 Wheeling Park in Friday’s semifinals at 9 p.m.