CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Class AAA No. 2 Buckhannon-Upshur advanced into Saturday night’s girls basketball championship game with a 49-27 win over No. 6 Wheeling Park.
“Our girls have been so focused and it’s been unreal,” said Buckhannon-Upshur coach Jeremy Maxwell. “You would think with a bunch of teenage girls that I would have to be on them to do this and do that, but they’ve been spot on. I just really appreciate the effort.”
The Buccaneers (24-3) jumped out to an 8-0 and never trailed. Wheeling Park (19-7) closed to within 26-20 at the half, but scored just four points in the third quarter — and seven total in the second half — as Buckhannon-Upshur pulled away, ending the game on a 10-0 run.
Wheeling Park overall shot just 17.9 percent from the floor and made only three buckets in that second half. Hanna McClung led BU with six steals as the Buccaneers forced 22 turnovers.
“Our team centers around defense – defense wins championships,” McClung said. “We bought into the fact of knowing where the shooter was and making sure we had our rotations down. I was really proud of the girls – we all stepped up, we were all communicating and that’s what it takes.
“Both teams come out with the same energy in the beginning, but you just have to get over the hump of their pressure,” she continued. “You could tell that they were wearing down and they were getting frustrated – that’s the type of thing that we thrive on.”
Makayla Reynolds led BU 14 points, while McClung added 10 points. Lauren Schultz scored 10 points for Wheeling Park in the loss. The Buccaneers outscored Wheeling Park 22-8 with points inside the paint.
Buckhannon-Upshur moves on to face top-seed Huntington Saturday night at 7:15 for the Class AAA title. A win Saturday would be the first girls basketball championship in school history for the Buccaneers.
“I can’t imagine (what Saturday) will be like, honestly,” Reynolds said. “I have dreamed of this moment since grade school. I would like to say that what it’s going to look like tomorrow will match what I envision in my head – I hope that it does.”