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The Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Bucs ended a six-game slide with a 61-42 win over Liberty Thursday night. (Bobbie Hatcher/My Buckhannon)

Lady Bucs break back into win column with 61-42 victory over Liberty

TENNERTON – Behind a double-double from Casadie Lahman, the Buckhannon-Upshur Lady Bucs ended their six-game losing streak with a 61-42 victory over the outmanned Liberty Mountaineers Thursday night in Big 10 Conference action.

“It’s nice to get the win but it’s really about the next game now,” stated assistant coach Chad Wilfong, who is filling in temporarily for head coach Rob Kittle who is away from the team with a medical issue. “More than anything, the girls needed a win for their confidence. We see the potential in the team as coaches, but they have been lacking in confidence, so that is where we are trying to get them to.”

Lahman had 15 points and 15 rebounds as B-U amassed their second highest point total of the season with their 61 points scored.

“Lahman never gives up on a play,” remarked Wilfong. “She has no fear and that is what we ask of her. She will get in there and mix it up underneath as a guard for us.”

Liberty, who is winless on the season with only seven rostered players (three of which are freshmen), and no junior varsity program, gave the Lady Bucs a game in the first half as Wilfong expected they would.

“Basketball is a tough game, we knew if we didn’t come out to play that Liberty would battle us,” explained Wilfong. “You can look at their record, but they are always competing. We knew if we played our game, we would be successful, but we knew Liberty would never give up.”

The Lady Bucs started slow with just one field goal in the first six minutes of the game and trailed by a 6-3 score before Lahman and Brooklyn Smith launched in consecutive three-pointers making it a 9-6 contest.

Liberty’s Emma Elliott, who led all scorers and rebounders with a 29-point, 18-rebound performance, knocked down a baseline jumper to close the B-U lead to one, at 9-8, at the end of the first quarter.

Gabby Forman scored from outside giving Liberty a 10-9 lead to start the second quarter, but it would be the last time B-U trailed in the contest.

Buckhannon-Upshur went on a 6-0 run behind a short jumper from Kyndal Davis and a basket and two free throws from Harley Dean for a 15-10 advantage with 3:25 remaining in the half.

A three-pointer from Gabby Parke with 1:40 left in the second put B-U up 20-13 and the Lady Bucs took a 22-15 lead into the intermission.

Liberty’s Makayla Thompson opened the third quarter with a lay-up, but B-U’s offense started to warm up as they scored 26 points in the quarter. B-U answered the Thompson basket with a 5-0 run behind a free throw from Alyssa Abel, a short jumper by Davis and a lay-up by Hodge’Nay Henderson that put the Lady Bucs up 27-17 with just 1:21 elapsed in third quarter.

Liberty closed it to nine, at 35-26, but Henderson uncorked a three-pointer and then scored on a lay-up to make it a 40-26 B-U advantage with 90 seconds left in the canto.

Buckhannon-Upshur ended the quarter on an 8-3 run for a 48-29 lead heading into the final eight minutes of action.

Liberty trimmed it down to 14 points, at 50-36 with four minutes remaining, but the Lady Bucs countered with a 7-0 run for a 57-36 lead with 90 seconds remaining.

B-U’s biggest lead was 22 points after a Henderson lay-up with 36 seconds left, at 61-39.

“I wanted our guards to attack more in the second half to help the offense gain a spark and that is something we did,” noted Wilfong. “Once they pushed the tempo and made some shots, you could see their confidence grow in the third quarter. Getting 26 points in that third quarter was huge after having just 22 at the half. I was glad to see the change in aggressiveness in the third quarter, which was the biggest thing.”

Trailing Lahman in the scoring column for B-U were Henderson with 12 points and Abel with nine.

“Everyone was up for this game,” remarked the junior forward Abel who finished the game with a 4-for-7 night shooting the ball. “Hopefully this win will get us going. This was certainly a confidence builder. Liberty was giving up a lot of holes on the backside of our offense, and my teammates were able to get me the ball underneath.”

After Elliott, only two other Liberty players scored as Gabby Forman had eight and Thompson had five.

Liberty dropped to 0-10 overall and 0-6 in conference play.

B-U improved to 2-6 overall and 1-4 in the Big 10 Conference.

The Lady Bucs will be back in action Saturday hosting Class AAAA No. 2. Wheeling Park at 12 p.m.

The boxscore:

Liberty 8  7  14  13 – 42

Buckhannon-Upshur 9  13  26  13 – 61

Liberty 42

Emma Elliott 10-23 8-14 29; Gabby Forman 3-11 0-0 8; Makayla Thompson 2-7 0-0 5; Briar Travelstead 0-2 0-0 0; Regan Gains 0-0 0-0 0; Jai’ah Andrew 0-0 0-0 0; Erika Ritter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-43 8-14 42.

Buckhannon-Upshur 61

Casadie Lahman 7-11 0-0 15; Hodge’Nay Henderson 6-16 1-2 14; Alyssa Abel 4-7 1-2 9; Kyndal Davis 4-7 0-0 8; Harley Dean 2-6 3-6 7; Brooklyn Smith 2-6 0-0 5; Gabby Parke 1-11 0-0 3; Rosie Shackleford 0-1 0-0 0; Makenzie Egress 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-65 5-10 61.

Three-point field goals – Liberty: Forman 2-9; Elliott 1-3; Thompson 1-1. Totals 4-13; Buckhannon-Upshur: Henderson 1-5; Parke 1-5; Smith 1-5; Lahman 1-3; Abel 0-1; Dean 0-1;  Totals 4-20.

Rebounds – Liberty: Elliott 18; team 4; Andrew 4; Travelstead 4; Forman 2; deadball 2; Ritter 1. Totals 35; Buckhannon-Upshur: Lahman 15; Dean 11; Abel 7; Henderson 3; Davis 2; deadball 2; Parke 1; Smith 1; team 1. Totals 43.

Assists – Liberty: Elliott 3; Thompson 2; Forman 1; Travelstead 1. Totals 7; Buckhannon-Upshur: Lahman 5; Parke 4; Shackleford 3; Henderson 1; Smith 1. Totals 14.

Steals – Liberty: Elliott 2; Travelstead 2; Andrew 1; Thompson 1. Totals 6; Buckhannon-Upshur: Abel 3;  Lahman 3; Parke 3; Davis 2; Henderson 2; Smith 1. Totals 14.

Blocked shots – Liberty: Elliott 2. Totals 2; Buckhannon-Upshur: Abel 2; Dean 1. Totals 3.

Turnovers – Liberty: 21; Buckhannon-Upshur: 11.

Fouls – Liberty: 8; Buckhannon-Upshur: 13.

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