Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Rob Kittle (center) gives his team a pep talk during the first quarter of their game with Lincoln Tuesday night. (Duane Carpenter/My Buckhannon)

Dominant third quarter lifts Lady Bucs to a 58-29 road win over Lincoln

SHINNSTON – Following a lethargic first half from his Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Bucs against the Lincoln Cougars Tuesday night, Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Rob Kittle was in no mood for giving a lengthy pep talk to his team at the intermission.

Kittle returned to the court during the intermission with four minutes still to go, allowing his team to think about their first-half play in the locker room. The Lady Bucs led at the half by a 25-19 score against the winless Cougars, despite playing a lackluster opening 16 minutes.

“I told them at the half, we can either be very average, or we can be really good,” said Kittle. “It all depends on us, not the other team. I decided to walk back to the court and let them ponder that.”

The Lady Bucs got the short but impactful message from their head coach at the break.

Buckhannon-Upshur came out in the third quarter, played an up-tempo pressure defense on Lincoln, and they looked like a totally different team.

They held Lincoln to just one field goal in the third quarter and forced 11 Cougar turnovers in the first 3:20 of the stanza.

When the nightmarish quarter finally ended for Lincoln, the Lady Bucs won the eight minutes by a 22-3 margin and rolled to a 58-29 victory.

“Luckily, they chose to come out play that third quarter the way we practice and the way we are capable of playing,” remarked Kittle. “Our effort changed in that third quarter, plain and simple. I told them I was tired of yelling about our effort. If we come out and fly around to the ball on defense and move our feet and communicate, good things will happen.”

Kittle credited junior forward Kendal Currence for leading the third-quarter defensive spark. Currence had eight steals in the game to go along with 10 points and seven rebounds.

“Currence was the difference in the game in that third quarter,” stated Kittle. “Shelby McDaniels was getting a lot of the points off the turnovers, but Currence was the one getting her hands on so many passes that led to so many easy baskets. She just took over the game at the top of the press for us. They couldn’t throw over her and had trouble dribbling around her. She really changed the momentum of the game.”

For the contest, the Lady Bucs turned over Lincoln 31 times getting 23 steals.

The Lady Bucs never trailed in the game and led by a 13-6 first-quarter score following a pair of free throws from Kenna Maxwell, but Lincoln closed the quarter on a 4-0 run to make it a 13-10 contest.

McDaniels uncorked a three-pointer to start the second quarter putting the Lady Bucs up 16-10 and two more free throws by Maxwell gave the Lady Bucs a 10-point lead, at 23-13, with just over three minutes remaining in the half.

Lincoln ended the half on a 6-2 run making it just a 25-19 score at the break.

That is when the Lady Bucs took over the game coming out of the half.

They scored 17 unanswered points to start the quarter for a 42-19 lead.

The only field goal of the quarter for Lincoln came at the 3:45 mark when Ashlyn Riley nailed a three-pointer to stop the Lady Bucs’ run.

Gabby Parke responded with her own trey and McDaniels scored on a lay-up to give the Lady Bucs a 47-22 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Kittle called off the press in the final frame, but the Lady Bucs still built their lead up to as many as 29 points on two different occasions, which also happened to be the final margin of victory for B-U.

McDaniels led the offense with a game-high 24 points while she added four steals and four rebounds.

“The first half we started out slow and we came out flat,” noted McDaniels. “Coach Kittle had to remind us that needed to play like we are capable of playing. So we came out in the second half, started moving our feet more and turned our defense into our offense. We played a fantastic team-defense in that third quarter. When we play as a unit, our defense can be phenomenal. I think this team has a lot of potential. It’s going to be exciting to see how far we can go.”

Riley led the Cougars (0-3) with 13 points.

The Lady Bucs remained perfect improving to 3-0 on the young season.

They will return to action Saturday hosting Musselman in a 2:45 p.m. contest.

The boxscore:

Buckhannon-Upshur 13 12  22  11 – 58

Lincoln  10  9  3  7 – 29

Buckhannon-Upshur 58

Shelby McDaniels 11-23 1-1 24; Kendal Currence 5-16 0-0 10; Gabby Parke 4-10 0-1 10; Kenna Maxwell 2-6 4-6 9; Alyssa Abel 1-5 1-2 3; Brooklyn Smith 1-1 0-0 2; Kyndal Davis 0-4 0-0 0; Oliva Ellis 0-0 0-0 0; Rosie Shackleford 0-0 0-0 0; Regina Petrokovich 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-65 6-10 58.

Lincoln 29

Ashlyn Riley 5-11 1-2 13; Megan Tucker 4-11 3-4 11; Aliyah Elder 0-2 2-4 2; Brooklyn Davisson 1-3 0-0 2; Brooklyn Fazzini 0-2 1-2 1; Sydney McDougal 0-3 0-0 0; Sylvia Salerno 0-3 0-0 0; Payton Riley 0-2 0-1 0; Josie Carroll 0-0 0-0 0; Kathryn DeMary 0-0 0-0 0; Hope Blackwell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 10-37 7-13 29.

Three-point field goals – Buckhannon-Upshur: Parke 2-3; Maxwell 1-3; McDaniels 1-5; Currence 0-3. Totals 4-14; Lincoln: A. Riley 2-6; Tucker 0-1; Davisson 0-1; P. Riley 0-1; Salerno 0-1. Totals 2-10.

Rebounds – Buckhannon-Upshur: Currence 7; Davis 7; Parke 7;  Abel 6; McDaniels 4; team 3; Maxwell 3; Ellis 1; Petrokovich 1; Smith 1; deadball 1. Totals 41; Lincoln: A. Riley 9; Tucker 7; McDougal 5; team 3; Davisson 3; P. Riley 2; Salerno 2; deadball 2; Fazzini 1; Elder 1; Carroll 1; Blackwell 1.  Totals 37.

Assists – Buckhannon-Upshur: Parke 4; Currence 3; Maxwell 3;  McDaniels 3; Abel 1; Ellis 1; Shackleford 1. Totals 16; Lincoln: Tucker 1; Davisson 1; P. Riley 1. Totals 3.

Steals – Buckhannon-Upshur: Currence 8; Maxwell 4; McDaniels 4; Parke 4; Abel 3. Totals 23; Lincoln: Tucker 3; P. Riley 2; McDougal 2; Fazzini 1; A. Riley 1; Davisson 1. Totals 10.

Blocked shots – Buckhannon-Upshur: Davis 2; Parke 2; Currence 1. Total 5; Lincoln: McDougal 1; A. Riley 1. Totals 2.

Turnovers – Buckhannon-Upshur: 13; Lincoln: 31.

Fouls – Buckhannon-Upshur: 16; Lincoln: 12.

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