TENNERTON — The Buckhannon- Upshur High School boys’ varsity basketball team (2-1) welcomed the Preston Knights (0-3) on Tuesday, December 21 for a Big 10 Conference game. As the Knights looked for their first win of the season, the Bucs were set to defend home-court and build on their big win over Lincoln in their last outing.
The action was pretty even at the end of the first quarter, the Bucs took a slim 15-10 advantage into the start of the second quarter. In the second, the Bucs kept their solid start to the game offensively rolling, scoring 17 points to take a 32-23 lead into halftime. In the first half, the Bucs never trailed, seizing a comfortable lead by way of a balanced offensive attack and an impressive level of defensive effort.
Coming out of the locker-room, the Bucs blew the lid off what had largely been a close game in the first half. The Bucs outscored the Knights, 28-16 in the third quarter to further build upon their 9-point halftime lead. At the end of three, the Bucs led by 21 points, by a score of 60-39. The fourth and final quarter saw the Bucs continue to pour it on the Knights’ defense with their efficient, aggressive offense. In the end, the Bucs cruised to a 24-point win over the Knights, by the final score of 78-54. This game was hardly ever in question in the second half, following a rather close opening half. The Bucs adjustments after halftime seemed to make all the difference as they ran away with this one in the second half.
The Bucs’ balanced offensive attack featured four players reaching double-digit scoring numbers. Senior do-it all guard, Harrison Walker paced the Bucs offensively, exploding for 25 points to lead all scorers. While Walker primarily focused on staying aggressive in terms of scoring the ball, he also distributed a handful of assists, nabbed a few steals, and pulled down a few rebounds on the night. Senior forward Lamar Hurst, the Bucs’ nightly double-double threat, almost reached that milestone against Preston, finishing with 13 points and 8 rebounds. Junior point guard Zach Calef-Boring finished the game with 13 points, all the while taking care of the ball and generate open looks for his teammates with his precise passing. Senior guard Sterlin Thropp played possibly his best game of the young season, scoring 12 points on the night, notching several steals, while displaying his trademark physical perimeter defense. Junior forward Shawn Blandino, did a little bit of everything for the Bucs against the Knights, scoring 5 points, nabbing 5 steals, and pulling down 6 rebounds. Blandino played the passing lanes early and often, coming up with timely steals whenever Preston attempted to make a run. Senior Oliver King scored all three of his points on the night from the free throw line, in what was a strong overall performance against Preston. Sophomore Ian Strader built upon his strong game against Lincoln with another strong outing against Preston. Strader took advantage of more minutes and being moved into the starting lineup by scoring 6 points, contributing on the glass, and playing selfless defense. Sophomore Jaden Westfall scored only a single point from the free throw line but found other ways to contribute positively.
Senior guard Mason Hyre was held scoreless for the first time this season, although still played a major role in creating open looks for others with his playmaking ability.
Following their win over Preston, the Bucs will take on rival Lewis County later this week before taking a small Christmas break. The Bucs will find themselves playing Riverside at home Monday, December 27 as they return from their Christmas break.