CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Class AAA No. 1 Buckhannon-Upshur forced 35 turnovers and rolled to a 76-31 girls basketball quarterfinal win over No. 8 Spring Mills on Wednesday night.
“I thought overall our effort was great,” said Buckhannon-Upshur coach Jeremy Maxwell. “In the first half we had a lot of energy, but channeling that energy to a productivity was a little bit of a struggle. Most of the time our biggest competition is between our ears and I thought the third quarter was really good for us, we really started focusing.”
The Buccaneers (25-1) led 31-17 at the break, outscoring Spring Mills 17-3 in the first quarter.
Lauren Bennett’s 12 steals in the game set a Class AAA state tournament record for an individual game, breaking the previous record of 10 established in 2013.
“After the regional game you don’t play for an entire week,” Bennett said. “I thought coming out with that excitement and energy (of playing again) would get us to where we needed to be.”
The overall 30 steals collected by Buckhannon-Upshur also set a Class AAA tournament record, breaking the previous mark of 26 set in 2000 and 2014 by Huntington and Parkersburg South.
“It’s what we do,” Maxwell said. “We’re much better when we have our defensive rotations the way they were in the second half. We really take it to heart. When people score on me, it really hurts me – it physically hurts. I think I take that personally and these girls do to.
“That drive, the need and want to be better – these girls have bought into that,” Maxwell continued. “It’s hard to match our intensity. When you add good basketball with athleticism and speed, it’s hard to match.”
Hanna McClung led Buckhannon-Upshur with 18 points, while Bennett scored 16 and McKinley Gaudet scored 12 points.
Jada Brooks led Spring Mills (12-14) with nine points in the loss.
Buckhannon-Upshur moves on to face either Wheeling Park or George Washington in the semifinals Friday evening at 5:30 p.m.