Alyssa Abel (Lori Woods/My Buckhannon)

Game of the Week (Bridgeport at B-U): Lady Bucs overcome poor shooting night to down Bridgeport in sectional opener, 53-43

TENNERTON – The Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Bucs pushed through a bad shooting night for a 53-43 victory over the Bridgeport Indians in the Region 1, Section 2 tournament opener Tuesday night at the high school.

The Lady Bucs missed their first 13 three-point attempts of the contest and shot the ball at just 26 percent in the first half (8-for-31).

They were much better in the second half going 13-for-29 for 45 percent and ending the game shooting 35 percent (21-for-60). They ended the contest just 2-for-17 from behind the three-point line.

“I told the team at the half to quit settling for shots,” remarked Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Rob Kittle. “Every time that we got the ball to the high post and worked it down low, we either got an open look from 12 feet out or a lay-up. We were just settling for that three-point shot. It felt like we were 0-for-50 at the half from out there. When we moved the ball, we got what we wanted. They started to buy in and distribute the ball to the high post in the second half, and we were able to shoot lay-ups for most of the second half.”

The Buckhannon-Upshur defense also clamped down on the Indians holding them to just a 37.8 percent shooting night.

“I thought our defense played well,” noted Kittle. “Our goal was to hold them to under 50 points and we gave up 43. I thought we made some key stops when we needed them. Offensively, though, we just have to do a better job of executing. We can’t come out where we aren’t taking advantage of what the defense is giving us and making one or two passes and launch a bad shot when we could get something easier.”

Three Lady Bucs combined for 51 of the team’s 53 points.

Freshman Alyssa Abel led all scorers with 20 points, going 9-for-12 from the field while Kendal Currence tallied 18 points and Shelby McDaniels had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Gabby Parke had the other two points for the Lady Bucs.

McDaniels reiterated what her coach said about her team settling for shots in the first half.

“I felt that we rushed a lot of shots in the first half,” stated McDaniels. “In big games like this, we need to let the game come to us. I think some of that was due to some nerves in the first half. I think we forced a lot of shots up trying to make something happen. In the second half, we kept things more in check. We didn’t rush things and played our game.”

Abel gave the Lady Bucs a quick 2-0 lead with a lay-up off the opening tip, but Bridgeport scored seven unanswered points for a 7-2 lead as B-U missed their next seven shots.

B-U tied the game at 9-9 after an old-fashioned three-point play by Abel, but Emily Anderson scored on a lay-up at the buzzer to treat Bridgeport to an 11-9 lead after eight minutes of action.

Gabby Reep put in a lay-up to start the second quarter for the Indians, making it a 13-9 game but Abel scored on a putback and Currence had an old-fashioned three-point play to give the lead back to the Lady Bucs for the first time since it was 2-0, at 14-13, with 4:51 remaining in the half.

Abel gave the Lady Bucs a 20-19 lead with four seconds left in the half with a lay-up, but Reep banked in a long-distance three at the buzzer to put B-U down by two at the break, at 22-20.

Bridgeport’s Bailey Tomes and Anderson each tallied baskets to start the third quarter giving the Indians their biggest lead of the game, at 26-20, just two minutes into the stanza.

Buckhannon-Upshur answered with a 10-0 run with Abel scoring five points, Currence four and McDaniels one to return the lead back to the Lady Bucs at 30-26, with 2:55 left in the third quarter.

Reep scored five straight points for Bridgeport as they took the lead back with 51 seconds remaining in the canto, at 31-30.

McDaniels knocked down the first three-pointer of the night by the team, giving B-U a 33-31 lead and the Lady Bucs took a 34-33 lead into the last quarter.

Abel started the final stanza with a lay-up and Parke scored underneath to extend the B-U lead to five, at 38-33, just 80 seconds in the fourth quarter.

Up 42-39, Abel scored on a lay-up and Currence put in a basket from underneath to give the Lady Bucs a 46-39 advantage with 2:51 remaining.

Leading 46-41, McDaniels put the dagger through the heart of Bridgeport with a three-pointer increasing the B-U lead to 49-41 with 2:13 to play.

“I felt if that shot went in, we had this,” stated McDaniels. “I think that took a little bit of pressure off us late in the game.”

Bridgeport scored one more basket — a baseline jumper by Tomes — but the Lady Bucs scored the final four points of the game on hoops from McDaniels and Currence then ran out the final 40 seconds of the game as Bridgeport elected not to foul.

“Luckily we were able to gut it out and found a way to win,” stated Kittle. “I think we were a little nervous in the beginning being the number one seed in the sectional and playing before a big crowd. The pressure was all on us.”

Reep led the Indians with 18 points as they concluded the year with a 7-14 record.

The Lady Bucs improved to 18-5 on the year and will face University at home on Friday for the sectional championship. The game will tip at 7 p.m.

University defeated Preston Tuesday night to advance to the sectional final.

“University is playing some great basketball right now,” concluded Kittle. “It is going to be a war on Friday. We are going to have to be ready to fight and scrap for every basket. There isn’t going to be anything easy for us the rest of the season. We have to be ready to go.”

The boxscore:

Bridgeport 11  11  11  10 – 43

Buckhannon-Upshur 9  11  14  19 – 53

Bridgeport 43

Gabby Reep 6-14 5-5 18; Emily Anderson 5-18 1-2 11; Maddy Amick 2-5 0-0 4; Bailey Tomes 2-6 0-0 4; Regan Moore 1-1 2-2 4; Eowyn Knapp 1-1 0-2 2; Myleigh Smell 0-0 0-0 0; Kileigh Pugh 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-45 8-11 43.

Buckhannon-Upshur 53

Alyssa Abel 9-12 2-3 20; Kendal Currence 7-14 4-5 18; Shelby McDaniels 4-18 3-7 13; Gabby Parke 1-10 0-0 2; Kenna Maxwell 0-6 0-0 0; Olivia Ellis 0-0 0-0 0; Kyndal Davis 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-60 9-15 53.

Three-point field goals – Bridgeport: Reep 1-1; Tomes 0-1; Anderson 0-1. Totals 1-3; Buckhannon-Upshur: McDaniels 2-8; Maxwell 0-4; Parke 0-4; Currence 0-1. Totals 2-17.

Rebounds – Bridgeport: Tomes 11; Anderson 9; Reep 8; Moore 3; team 3; deadball 2; Amick 1. Totals 37; Buckhannon-Upshur: McDaniels 10; Abel 8; Parke 8; team 5; Currence 2; Maxwell 2; deadball 2; Davis 1; Ellis 1. Totals 39.

Assists – Bridgeport: Amick 3; Reep 3; Anderson 1; Pugh 1. Totals 8; Buckhannon-Upshur: McDaniels 5; Currence 3; Maxwell 2; Parke 2. Totals 12.

Steals – Bridgeport: Reep 1; Amick 1. Totals 2; Buckhannon-Upshur: Currence 3; McDaniels 3; Maxwell 2; Parke 2; Ellis 1. Totals 11.

Blocked shots – Bridgeport: Reep 1; Moore 1. Totals 2; Buckhannon-Upshur: Currence 4. Totals 4.

Turnovers – Bridgeport: 15; Buckhannon-Upshur: 3.

Personal fouls – Bridgeport: 13; Buckhannon-Upshur: 12.

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