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Hodge'Nay Henderson (5) had seven points and four steals in Buckhannon-Upshur's 44-37 win over Bridgeport (Bobbie Hatcher/My Buckhannon)

Henderson’s two late steals secures 44-37 win for Lady Bucs over Bridgeport

TENNERTON – Playing with four fouls late in the game, Buckhannon-Upshur senior guard Hodge’Nay Henderson knew she would have to be careful on defense from picking up her fifth foul in a close game with the Bridgeport Indians Thursday night.

Being careful though didn’t slow Henderson’s defensive attack as she had two massive steals in the game’s final 45 seconds to secure a 44-37 win over the Indians.

Leading 39-35 with Bridgeport owning the ball with 42 seconds remaining, she came up with a steal and converted it into a lay-up at the other end, then made another steal on Bridgeport’s next possession and was fouled on the ensuing play making one of two at the line giving B-U a 42-35 lead and essentially icing the game away for the Lady Bucs with 21 seconds remaining.

The win snapped a five-game slide for the Lady Bucs.

“I just felt like we needed a win and I had to step up for my team,” stated Henderson. “Even with the threat of fouling out, I felt like I needed to make a stop for our team. Hopefully this can lead us to finish strong, we need to forget about what  happened in the past and focus on our remaining schedule.”

Henderson finished the game with seven points and four steals.

“For Henderson to come up with those two late steals playing with four fouls was huge,” stated assistant coach Chad Wilfong, who is overseeing the team during head coach Rob Kittle’s medical absence. “For her to play clean in that final minute, her getting the two steals was great, but not picking up the fifth foul was even more important.”

Wilfong also credited Kittle for advising him and the team to move to a more man-to-man oriented defense for the game.

“I will give coach Kittle credit, he was the one that told us to start playing a man-to-man defense,” said Wilfong. “I think that helped us pick up the intensity and I think that has been one thing lacking from our play was the intensity. The win tonight is a payoff for all the hard work we have been putting in the last week transitioning to our new defense.”

The Lady Bucs were down early 4-2 two minutes in but didn’t allow Bridgeport another point in the quarter and went on a 9-0 run behind a three-pointer from Casadie Lahman, a basket and two free throws from Alyssa Abel and an outside jumper from Henderson for an 11-4 lead going into the second quarter.

Abel kept the run going to start the second quarter nailing an 18-footer giving B-U a nine-point lead, at 13-4.

Bridgeport answered with an 8-0 run making it 13-12 contest, but Brooklyn Smith canned a trey and Harley Dean scored on a putback to give Buckhannon-Upshur an 18-12 advantage with 3:34 left in the half.

Lahman had a steal and scored on a lay-up at the first-half buzzer to treat B-U to a 23-19 lead at the intermission.

The B-U defense took over in the third quarter limiting Bridgeport to just one basket and one free throw as they won the canto by a 10-3 margin.

They ended the third quarter on a 5-0 run behind a free throw from Abel, a lay-up from Kyndal Davis and two more free throws from Abel to build a 33-22 advantage heading into the final eight minutes of action.

The Lady Bucs let Bridgeport back into the game with some poor free throw shooting in the final quarter going just five-for-16 at the line but they never gave up the lead to the Indians.

Bridgeport managed to cut the B-U lead to four points, at 39-35, after a three-pointer from Haylee Pryor, but couldn’t get any closer as Henderson’s two steals closed the door on their comeback effort.

“We didn’t shoot well from the free-throw line, but we managed to get to the free-throw line,” remarked Wilfong, whose Lady Bucs were 16-for-29 from the stripe for the game. “We are trying to get the team to be opportunistic on offense and force teams to come after us. We practice our free throws every practice but just couldn’t get them to drop in that fourth quarter.”

Madalyn Amick led Bridgeport with 15 points as they dropped to 6-13 on the year.

Abel had a game-high 17 points to lead the Lady Bucs, who improved to 3-11 on the season.

Lahman just missed out on a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.

B-U outrebounded Bridgeport by a 40-31 margin.

“This was a big win,” concluded Wilfong. “This was an important win that gives us sectional and regional positioning. We found a win tonight and I am proud of the team.”

They will be back in action Tuesday visiting Lewis County with a 7:30 p.m. start time.

The boxscore:

Bridgeport 4  15  3  15 – 37

Buckhannon-Upshur 11  12  10  11 – 44

Bridgeport 37

Madalyn Amick 6-10 2-2 15; Haylee Pryor 3-8 0-0 7; Jaylin Dodd 2-8 2-4 6; Reese Pierce 2-8 1-2 5; Emily Anderson 2-5 0-0 4; Kloey Martnez 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 15-42 5-8 37.

Buckhannon-Upshur 44

Alyssa Abel 5-10 7-9 17; Casadie Lahman 2-9 4-6 9; Hodge’Nay Henderson 2-6 3-8 7; Harley Dean 2-7 2-6 6; Brooklyn Smith 1-5 0-0 3; Kyndal Davis 1-4 0-0 2; Rosie Shackleford 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-41 16-29 44.

Three-point field goals – Bridgeport: Amick 1-1; Pryor 1-2; Pierce 0-4; Totals 2-7; Buckhannon-Upshur: Lahman 1-7; Smith 1-5; Abel 0-1; Henderson 0-1; Totals 2-14.

Rebounds – Bridgeport: Dodd 13;  Martinez 5; team 5; Anderson 3; Pierce 2; Amick 1; Pryor 1; deadball 1. Totals 31; Buckhannon-Upshur: Lahman 10; Dean 7; deadball 6; Abel 5; team 4; Davis 3; Henderson 2; Smith 2; Shackleford 1. Totals 40.

Assists – Bridgeport: Pierce 1; Martinez 1. Totals 2; Buckhannon-Upshur: Lahman 4; Dean 1; Henderson 1; Smith 1. Totals 7.

Steals – Bridgeport: Dodd 4; Pryor 2; Amick 1. Total 7; Buckhannon-Upshur: Henderson 4; Smith 2; Abel 1; Lahman 1; Shackleford 1. Totals 9.

Blocked shots – Bridgeport: Anderson 3. Totals 3; Buckhannon-Upshur: Davis 1. Totals 1.

Turnovers – Bridgeport: 16; Buckhannon-Upshur: 13.

Fouls – Bridgeport: 18; Buckhannon-Upshur: 10.

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