BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – Class AAA No. 1 Buckhannon-Upshur erased a five-point fourth quarter deficit and won a physical sectional title game on Thursday night over No. 4 Morgantown, 53-49.
It was Buckhannon-Upshur’s 19th straight win.
“We made a couple of shots (late),” said Buckhannon-Upshur coach Jeremy Maxwell. “I thought we got great shots all night long, but we were missing layups, we were missing open 3s.
“We got the right looks, we just couldn’t get them to go down,” he continued. “But we finally got a couple and made enough plays down the stretch.”
With the ball in Hanna McClung’s hands down the stretch, the Buccaneers were able to retake control of the game and close it out at the line.
McClung finished with 22 points to lead Buckhannon (23-1), while Lauren Bennett added 13 points.
Buckhannon’s defensive pressure caused havoc throughout.
“We just have to stay true to our defense – that’s what makes or breaks this team,” McClung said. “We knew if we got stops and could execute offensively just a few times, even though we were struggling, that we would be able to pull it out.
“We tried to grind it out throughout the entire process,” she continued. “And we were able to pull it off.”
It was Morgantown (18-6) that had the early momentum, jumping out to an 8-1 lead. But Buckhannon closed the first half on a 27-15 run, taking a 28-23 lead into the break.
Morgantown was going up against that Buckhannon defensive pressure, playing without starting guard Aliyssa Neal.
“We shouldn’t walk out of that locker room with our heads down, I was really proud of their effort,” said Morgantown coach Jason White. “That’s the No. 1 team in the state and they only have one loss on the year. I thought we battled and I thought our defensive effort was great – it was fantastic.”
Sydni Clawges led Morgantown with 22 points, while Kaitlyn Ammons added 19 points for the Mohigans.
Both teams move on into regional play next week with Buckhannon-Upshur hosting the loser of Friday’s game between John Marshall and Wheeling Park, while Morgantown will face the winner on the road.
“We just have to stay focused,” McClung said. “We have one goal in mind this year and it’s a state championship. We have to continue to stay true to that and stay true to each other and we’ll be alright.”