TENNERTON — The Buckhannon- Upshur High School boys’ basketball team (1-0), coming off an upset win over #8 Wheeling Park in their season opener, quickly had to refocus and turn their attention to a new challenge as they prepared to welcome West Virginia AAAA’s preseason #1 ranked team, the Morgantown Mohicans (0-0) to Tennerton.
The trip to Buckhannon was the first action of the season for the Mohicans, who were seeking to live up to their lofty preseason expectations against the B- U team that had already proved to be a dangerous opponent. It was an electric atmosphere at tip-off, as Coach Travis Foster’s team squared up for a powerhouse match-up with the state’s top-ranked team. The Bucs’ opened the game with a solid defensive performance in the first quarter, holding the Mohicans to only 14 points. The boys slowed the pace of the game, opting to methodically run their offense, using off the ball movement and crisp passes to generate a couple good looks around the rim for versatile senior forward Lamar Hurst, but for the most part points were hard to come by for both teams early. At the end of the first quarter, the Bucs trailed 14-9.
In the second quarter, the Mohicans found a rhythm and started to heat up, scoring 15 points in the second quarter, while holding the Bucs to only 10. Going into the locker-room for halftime, the team found themselves in striking distance, only trailing the Mohicans by 10, 29-19.
Senior combo guard Harrison Walker, hit a tough mid-range early in the third quarter to trim the deficit to briefly single dights, but that is as close as the Bucs would come. The Mohicans responded by going on a big run, as part of a 24-point third quarter explosion that allowed them to stretch the lead to 52-28 going into the fourth quarter.
The B- U boys fought valiantly until the final whistle, showcasing their trademark blue-collar approach to the game basketball. Against the Bucs, the Mohicans had to fight for every basket, rebound, and loose ball, but in the end did enough to come out with a road win, 72-37. The team was within striking distance of arguably the best team in the state, but ultimately the game just got away from them in the second half. Being early, the Bucs will look to improve and strengthen their bond as a unit throughout the course of the season, shaping themselves into a threat for a potential run at the postseason.
Walker led B- U in scoring, notching 19 points on the night. Walker found success offensively in a game where every point was earned, he was able to create his own shot, draw fouls, and get others involved. Hurst narrowly missed the double-digit scoring mark, chipping in 9 points. Senior guard Mason Hyre picked up the role of making plays for others, notching three assists to go along with 4 points, junior forward Shawn Blandino added in 3 points, and junior guard Zach Calef-Boring knocked down a pair of free throws on the night to finish with 2 points to round out the scoring for the Bucs.
The Bucs (1-1) will look to get back to their winning ways when they play host to the Lincoln Cougars (0-0) Wednesday night their Big 10 Conference opener. The game is slated to tip-off at 7:30 pm.