Hawks ease past Buccaneers in section semifinal

MORGANTOWN — It was business as usual for the University girls’ basketball team on Wednesday as the Hawks defeated Buckhannon-Upshur 72-37 in the first round of the Class AAAA Region I, Section 2 tournament.

A team that was one win away from going to Charleston last year, the Hawks (13-10) played like that was the goal Wednesday, starting the game by going up 31-1 on the Buccaneers (4-17) in the first half.

“We’re sharing the basketball,” UHS coach Nick Lusk simply said. “I thought our passing was really good and I thought defensively we did a nice job.” 

BU’s first field goal came at the 1:42 mark of the second quarter, over 14 minutes into the game, on a layup by Hodgenay Henderson. Before that, Alyssa Abel’s free throw accounted for the team’s lone point. Abel later hit a three-pointer as University led 41-6 at halftime.

The Hawks, meanwhile, were getting everyone involved on both ends of the court. UHS turned BU over eight times in the first quarter and five more times in the second, leading to a plethora of fastbreak opportunities. Center Riley Braham also blocked a couple of shot attempts.

In the end, 10 players scored for UHS with eight making multiple field goals. 

The Hawks lacked that kind of depth early in the season, but the combination of injuries and a tough schedule threw some girls into action early and often, and it appears the team is now better for it.

“The injuries hurt us at first, but in the long run, it’s helped us,” Lusk said. “The schedule that we played at the beginning of the year helped us. We feel comfortable putting anybody in the game. We don’t have much of a drop-off.

“It’s taken the pressure off of others like Ella (Simpson) and Hannah (Stemple). Before they had to do a lot of the scoring to where now others are stepping up. It’s big for us.”

Hannah Stemple led the charge with 14 points and four three-pointers. Ashlynn Weaver scored nine, Whitney Cox and Bri Fox came off the bench to score nine and eight, respectively, Braham had eight and Ella Simpson finished with seven.

“When we share the ball, I think we’re a pretty good team,” Lusk said. “If we continue to do that, we’ve got a pretty good shot (to win).”

Harley Dean and Casadie Lahamn both scored eight points to lead BU. 

The Hawk will now host Preston in the section championship on Friday at 7 p.m.

University 72, Buckhannon-Upshur 37
BU 0 6 12 19 — 37
UHS 15 26 21 10 — 72
BUCKHANNON-UPSHUR (4-17) — Lahman 3 0-0 8; Henderson 1 0-2 2; Abel 2 2-3 7; Dean 3 2-2 8; Davis 3 1-2 7; Smith 1 0-0 3; Shackleford 0 0-0 0; Egress1 0-0 2; Feather 0 0-0 0; Hall 0 0-0 0.
UNIVERSITY (13-10) — Weaver 3 2-2 9; Maisel 2 2-2 6; Braham 4 0-0 8; E. Simpson 3 1-2 7; Stemple 5 0-0 14; Fox 3 0-0 8; Johnson 3 0-0 6; L. Simpson 1 0-0 2; Cox 3 0-0 9; Balko 1 0-0 2; Martin 0 0-0 0; Vanscoy 0 0-0 0; Patterson 0 0-0 0.
3-Pt. Goals — Buckhannon-Upshur 4 (Lahman 2, Abel 1, Smith 1). University 11 (Stemple 4, Cox 3, Fox 2, Weaver 1, Balko 1).