SHINNSTON – The Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers built a 17-point first-half lead and then had to hang on for dear life in the second half in their 2021 debut against the Lincoln Cougars Saturday night.
The Bucs came out in their opener and delivered a near knockout blow to the Cougars as they built a 32-15 lead right before the half, but they came out flat in the third quarter, including getting into foul trouble.
The Bucs actually found themselves down by three with just under four minutes remaining, but they rallied back for the three-point win.
“The third quarter has been our downfall for the last three years,” remarked Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Travis Foster. “We have preached to the guys to win each quarter, but we are still failing in the third quarter. We have to find a way to win that quarter. We also got into some foul trouble in the third quarter which led us to putting some combinations on the floor that we aren’t quite use to yet.”
Lincoln entered the game ranked 10th in Class AAA while the Bucs were ranked 16th in Class AAAA.
Ryan Hurst started the game with a three-pointer and Josh Loudin made a short jumper to stake the Bucs to a 5-0 lead.
With the Bucs holding a 12-9 lead with a minute remaining in the opening quarter, Loudin made a jumper in the paint and Harrison Walker unleashed a three-pointer giving Buckhannon-Upshur a 17-9 lead after eight minutes of action.
The Bucs opened the second quarter on an 8-0 run behind an old-fashioned three-point play by Lamar Hurst, then Lamar Hurst made three straight free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt and Noam Keith made a lay-up.
That treated the Bucs to a 25-9 lead, the first of several 16-point leads for the Bucs in the quarter.
Will McCauley put in a rebound and made a free throw after being fouled on the basket to give the Bucs their 17-point lead, the biggest of the game, at 32-15, with 13 seconds remaining in the half.
Lincoln’s Zach Snyder was fouled on this three-point attempt with one second remaining and made all three free throws, making it a 32-18 game at the break.
A lay-up by Ryan Hurst kept the Bucs up by 12, at 41-29, with 3:49 left in the quarter but Lincoln went on a 7-0 run over the next three minutes to close the gap to 41-36.
A three-pointer by Sterlin Thropp ended the run making it a 44-36 contest for B-U but Lincoln finished the quarter scoring the last four points shrinking the B-U lead to four entering the final quarter, at 44-40.
With B-U clinging to a 47-45 lead, Lincoln’s Sammy Bart made a jumper in the paint and Westin Heldreth made a three-pointer to give Lincoln their first lead of the game, at 50-47, with 3:45 remaining.
Buckhannon-Upshur responded with baskets from Loudin and Zach White to retake the lead, at 51-50, with 2:43 left to play.
Snyder knocked down a jumper on Lincoln’s next possession to give Lincoln the lead back, at 52-51, but White answered with a basket to put B-U back in front by one, at 53-52.
With 16 seconds left in the game with the score still 53-52, White was fouled on his shot attempt.
He calmly drained both free throws pushing the B-U lead to three, at 55-52.
Snyder got off a three-point shot at the buzzer for Lincoln from the top of the key, but it bounced off the rim with McCauley grabbing the rebound and securing the win.
“The guys played hard,” noted Foster. “Two or three years ago, when we lose the lead we probably go ahead and lose this game. We aren’t used to being up 17 points all the time. One of things we are trying to grow into is understanding game-management when we have the lead. We had a ton of unforced turnovers in that second half and that isn’t our team make-up. Maybe it was just the first game but we have to learn to keep the lead and win these type of games.”
Ryan Hurst and Loudin led the Bucs in scoring with 10 points apiece while Keith added seven.
The Bucs held a huge rebounding difference against Lincoln by a 38-23 margin.
Lincoln was led by Snyder’s 16 points while Bart put in 12.
The Bucs, now 1-0, will return to action today as they visit Preston for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
Buck.-Upshur 17 15 12 11 – 55
Lincoln 9 9 22 12 – 52
Ryan Hurst 4-8 0-1 10; Josh Loudin 5-7 0-1 10; Noam Keith 3-3 0-0 7; Will McCauley 2-7 2-3 6; Lamar Hurst 1-7 4-4 6; Zach White 2-3 2-2 6; Sterlin Thropp 2-5 1-1 5. Totals 20-46 10-13 55.
Zack Snyder 4-11 6-9 16; Sammy Bart 5-11 1-2 12; Payton Hawkins 4-6 1-4 9; Jeremiah Carpenter 3-7 0-0 6; Westin Heldreth 1-6 2-2 5; Levi Moore 1-1 0-0 2; Kodi Shingleton 1-2 0-0 2; Manning Clark 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-44 10-17 52.
Three-point field goals – Buckhannon-Upshur: R. Hurst 2-5; Thropp 1-1; Keith 1-1; Walker 1-5; L. Hurst 0-2. Totals 5-14; Lincoln: Snyder 2-4; Bart 1-3; Heldreth 1-5; Carpenter 0-2. Totals 4-14.
Rebounds – Buckhannon-Upshur: R. Hurst 7; McCauley 7; L. Hurst 6; Loudin 6; White 5; Thropp 4; team 2; deadball 1. Totals 38; Lincoln: Hawkins 8; Bart 4; Snyder 3; Carpenter 3; team 2; Heldreth 1; Shingleton 1; deadball 1. Totals 23.
Assists – Buckhannon-Upshur: R. Hurst 2; L. Hurst 2; Walker 2; Thropp 1; McCauley 1; Whit 1; Loudin 1. Totals 10; Lincoln: Snyder 3; Hawkins 3; Bart 2; Moore 1. Totals 9.
Steals – Buckhannon-Upshur: R. Hurst 1; Thropp 1; McCauley 1; Walker 1; Loudin. Totals 5; Lincoln: Heldreth 2; Snyder 1; Carpenter 1; Hawkins 1. Totals 5.
Blocked shots – Buckhannon-Upshur: McCauley 1; L. Hurst 1. Totals 5; Lincoln: Hawkins 1. Totals 1.
Turnovers – Buckhannon-Upshur: 17; Lincoln: 11.
Personal fouls – Buckhannon-Upshur: 19; Lincoln: 14.