Freshman Bucs pick up wins, close out season

Zikaya Oliver driving to the basket. ROBERTA HATCHER/The Record Delta

TENNERTON — The Buckhannon-Upshur High School freshman boys basketball team, under the direction of Head Coach Roberta “Bobbie” Hatcher, finished the 2021-22 campaign by winning 2 of their last 3 games. The team’s performance in the closing weeks of the season showed how far this team has come under Hatcher’s guidance. After starting 1-6, the young Bucs rallied to improve their final mark on the season to 3-7. 

When asked to sum up her thoughts on the season, Hatcher praised the team. “It was a difficult season because of all the challenges and complications COVID presented. Between the pandemic and weather, it was tough for us to get in the number of games in that we originally wanted to. In the 10 games we did play, that we continually got better as we grew as a team. My team this year was a special group of guys who fought through all kinds of adversity. They came into the season having very little experience playing at basketball at this level but kept the faith through a rough start of the season to end up finishing strong. I’m my opinion, the future of this group is bright. I expect to see big things from them in the future,” said Hatcher.

The Bucs started off their streak of improved play against rival Lewis County, beating the freshman Minutemen in overtime back on Thursday, February 10. After playing to a 46-46 tie at the end of regulation, the freshman Bucs tightened the clamps defensively, holding Lewis County scoreless in the decisive overtime period to win 56-46. 

As a team the freshman Bucs hit 14 2-point field goals, 7 3-point field goals and shot 16-24 from the free throw line against the Minutemen. 

Jevon Westfall paced the freshman Bucs offensively with 15 points. Both Zikayah Oliver and Jonas Barton followed closely behind with 14 points apiece. Westfall, Oliver and Barton combined to form a steady trio that lifted the Bucs over a tough challenge against their rival. 

Westfall recorded a double-double with 10 rebounds to go along with 4 assists and 4 steals. Barton added 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block, while Oliver chipped in 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block. Damion White scored 7 points to go along with 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 1 block. Kaiden Marks scored 4 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. Slaton Kowalski scored 2 points and 6 rebounds to round out the freshman Bucs stats against Lewis County. 

The young team followed up by falling to Philip Barbour with a final score of 67-36 back on Saturday, February 12. Hatcher’s team allowed the freshman Colts to pull away early. Entering the second quarter, trailing 18-5, not much went right for the freshman team as they could not find a way to get back into the game and make a run at the Colt’s lead. 

As a team, the freshman Bucs hit 8 2-point field goals, 4 3-point field goals and shot 8-10 (80%) from the free throw line during what proved to be a rough night for the young team. 

Westfall and White were the only two freshman Bucs to hit the double-digit scoring mark, finishing with 13 and 11 points respectively. Marks scored 5 points, Joseph Shipman scored 4 points while both Oliver and Kowalkski scored 2 points. 

The freshman Bucs wrapped up their season by crushing the Robert C. Byrd Eagles with a final score of 73-45 last Friday, February 18. Following a tough night in which they never led, the freshman Bucs played much better, never trailing against the freshman Eagles. 

As a team, the freshman Bucs hit an astounding 24 2-point field goals, which was complimented by 5 made 3-point field goals, shooting a 10–16 (62.5%) mark from the free throw. 

Despite missing his first five shots from the field, White kept faith in his shot, which paid off as he went on to dominate; scoring 25 points, hitting 10 2-point field goals. White finished the game with a 10-19 mark shooting from the field, to go along with a 5-9 (55.5%) make shooting from the free throw line, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal. 

Westfall was the team’s second-leading scorer against RCB, ending the night with 18 points on 7–18 shooting from the field. Westfall made 5 2-point field goals, 2 3-point field goals, to go along with a 2-3 (66.6%) mark shooting from the free throw line. Westfall rounded out his statline with an impressive 7 steals to go along with 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block. 

Oliver was the third freshman to reach double-digit scoring numbers, netting 13 points on 5-11 shooting from the field, including an efficient 2-3 (66.6%) mark shooting from beyond-the-arc. to go along with 1-2 (50%) from free throw line. Oliver fleshed out his statline with 6 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists

Kowalski scored 6 points to go along with 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal. Aden McCartney scored 5 points to go along with 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Shipman scored 4 points to go along with 2 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 assist, while Marks score 2 points, pulled down 2 rebounds and dished out 2 assists. 

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