Bucs play well at No. 9 Wheeling Park, but fade late in season opener, 71-51

Buckhannon-Upshur’s Lamar Hurst (13) goes airborne for a dunk in front of Wheeling Park defender during the second half of their non-conference game Saturday afternoon. Hurst had four points and three assists, but the Bucs dropped a 71-51 decision in their season debut. The Bucs will host Lincoln on Wednesday at West Virginia Wesleyan.

WHEELING – 26-3.

No, that wasn’t the final score of the Buckhannon-Upshur-Wheeling Park boys’ basketball game played Saturday evening.

That was the number of foul shot attempts for both teams.

That number didn’t set well with Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Travis Foster after the game in a 71-51 setback in a contest that was much closer than the final score indicated.

“I have been around the game a basketball for a while now and I have never seen a free throw discrepancy like that,” remarked Foster. “We started the game in foul trouble and it continued from there. It’s disappointing to say the least.”

Buckhannon-Upshur was going toe-to-toe with the No. 9th-ranked Patriots for 3 ½ quarters, trailing by just four, at 50-46, with 6:45 left in the game.

Wheeling Park went on a 9-0 run for a 59-46 lead with four minutes left but Mason Hyre uncorked a three-pointer that kept the Bucs down by just 10, at 59-49, with 3:39 remaining.

The final two minutes of the game turned into a complete fiasco from the Bucs side of things.

A dunk by Travis Zimmerman put Wheeling Park up 63-49 but Zimmerman hung on the rim after the dunk with no one underneath him which could have been called a technical foul.

Following two more non-calls where Patriot players were taunting, Foster was whistled for a technical foul and just seconds later junior Zach White was called for another technical after picking up his fifth foul.

Wheeling Park closed the game amid the chaos on an 8-2 run for the 71-51 win.

“My guys are getting held, grabbed, elbowed and really whatever Wheeling Park wanted to do to us with no whistles,” stated Foster.”When they have a player stand over one of our players taunting him, and during a free throw they have a guy flexing and pointing at his bicep towards our bench right in front of the official and nothing is called. I got the technical because somebody had to look out for our kids. Nobody with a whistle was going to do it.”

The Bucs took an early 6-3 lead following a Will McCauley baseline jumper, but Wheeling Park went on a 9-0 run for a 12-6 lead with 3:09 showing on the first-quarter clock.

After a time out by Foster, the Bucs’ Josh Loudin put in a lay-up, and following a basket by Wheeling Park, Tyler Sandreth canned a three-pointer and White knocked down a jumper in the paint to make it just a one-point game, at 14-13.

Wheeling Park ended the stanza on a 6-2 run taking a 20-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Sandreth and Ryan Hurst started the second quarter with a pair of lay-ups making it a 20-19 contest.

The two teams traded baskets the rest of the quarter with the Bucs down by just two at the break, at 29-27.

Wheeling Park scored the first six points of the second half for a 35-27 advantage but White put in consecutive baskets, Ryan Hurst went inside

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