By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
PLEASANT VALLEY —
Blood poured from her nose and tears streamed down her face as Buckhannon-Upshur’s Megan Wilfong walked slowly to the bench at East Fairmont High School.
The referee called a long timeout for the injury, which appeared to be caused during a battle for a loose rebound. But with the score already 48-11 in the third quarter, it would have been more fitting for the ref to take a page out of boxing’s handbook and call a technical knockout.
The Lady Bees basketball team bullied the Bucs with efficient 3-point shooting and a stout defense during a dominant 63-33 home win, leaving B-U bruised, broken and — yes— even bloodied.
“It’s always physical during conference games,” said sophomore guard Bailey Frederick, who finished with nine points and five assists. “The refs let us play a little bit tonight.”
Last season Buckhannon-Upshur was one of the lower-rung teams in the Big 10 but came up with an upset win over the Bees. From the opening tip, it was evident that this year would be a different story.
The Bees (5-4, 4-3 Big 10) jumped out to a 20-5 lead in the first quarter and extended it to 36-11 by halftime. Had the Bees not scored a single point in the second half, they still would have come out on top.
East Fairmont’s lone senior, Mikayla Moore, led the offensive explosion by consistently knocking down corner 3s. Twelve of her team-leading 14 points came from beyond the arc. All this from an athlete who didn’t even play basketball last season.
“Mikayla has to step up and she does,” Frederick said. “She’s just a big part of what we’re trying to do. We definitely need her to accomplish what we want to do.”
While Moore led the team in scoring, contributions came from up and down the bench. Brooklynn Weaver put up 11 points and six rebounds, Felicity VanGilder had nine points and five assists, Peyton Ryan recorded seven points, and Ivy Davis scored six points.
East Fairmont coach James Beckman said the variety of scoring threats shows that his players are finding where they fit in.
“I tell them that when you accept your role, your role expands,” he said. “Right now I have girls that are accepting their roles.”
The lopsided score made for a second half that was little more than a formality. Still, the Bees continued to play with the same intensity, especially defensively. They forced 16 steals in the contest and held the Lady Bucs without a basket for the first five minutes of the second half.
“We work every day defensively,” said Beckman. “We probably spend the majority of our time on defense. No lead is safe if we don’t play defense.”
The way the Bees played defense, the lead was more than safe. They coasted to the easy win.
“I think our chemistry is at an all-time high right now,” Beckman said. “It’s fun to come to work. It’s fun being around these kids. These kids are enjoying each other. And when it’s fun for all of us, we work that much harder.”
The Bees will need that work ethic, as they prepare for a challenging week. East Fairmont is on the road at Robert C. Byrd on Thursday and at defending Class AA state champion Bridgeport on Saturday.
Beckman said a win against RCB would give the program its first “signature win” of the season.
“This is definitely a stepping stone in what we want to do for the program,” said Frederick. “It’s definitely a good win going into the big week. We definitely needed to get the week started the right way.”
Email Mike DeFabo at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.