Consistent Effort and Hustle Keep Lady Buckeyes’ Season Alive

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The Nelsonville-York Lady Buckeyes’ effort was never in question tonight against the Oak Hill Lady Oaks in the Sectional Championship and it was that energy and hustle that helped Nelsonville-York stay in the game in the first half from their offensive struggles. It was Mary-Kate McCulloch’s offense in the second half along with suffocating defense that silenced Oak Hill. McCulloch led the way with 17 points, 15 coming in the second half, as the Lady Buckeyes survived and advanced to the next round of the OHSAA playoffs.

The first quarter was not what either team was wanting out of the gate. The score had the Lady Oaks with the lead at 8-5, but the energy and constant communication from Joscelyn Heller and McCulloch kept the momentum from being completely on Oak Hill’s side. The offensive woes continued to the second half, but the effort on every play continued as well. Diving for loose balls, securing rebounds, and constantly cheering each other helped the Lady Buckeyes stay in the game against a very fundamental Oak Hill squad.

It was Oak Hill’s game until 4:18 left in the final quarter when Nelsonville-York took the lead for the first time in the game, 31-30, after a McCulloch three pointer.

With 1:48 left, Haley Hurd made the lay up with the foul but missed the and-one free throw, bringing their lead to 35-32. Nelsonville-York then fouled Oak Hill’s Olivia Clarkson. She would make both free throws, narrowing the Lady Buckeyes lead to 35-34.

32.4 seconds were left on the clock and McCulloch was sent to the line for the 1-and-1. She missed the first but Ashleigh Cantrell battled for the offensive board shaking off the foul from Oak Hill. She was sent to the line, made the first of the 1-and-1, bringing the lead to 36-34. She would miss the second free throw and again it was Lady Buckeye hustle that kept them alive. Mackenzie Hurd grabbed the offensive rebound to keep the possession alive.

After another Oak Hill foul, McCulloch was sent to the line for the double bonus and made her first but missed the second, extending the lead to 37-34. Oak Hill would go up the floor but turned the ball over, giving the ball right back to the Lady Buckeyes. After two more clutch free throws from Heller and McCulloch, the Lady Buckeyes would leave the court with a 39-34 upset win over the #3 seeded, Oak Hill Lady Oaks.

Haley Hurd was the Lady Buckeyes second leading scorer with seven and was all over the glass, ending with a total of 13 rebounds, five on the offensive glass.

Nelsonville York will travel to Waverly High School on Thursday to take on Lynchburg-Clay in the District Semifinal.