Fueled by a big third quarter, Bucs take down Riverside, 64-47

#13 senior forward Lamar Hurst battles for first possession at the start of the game. ROBERTA HATCHER/The Record Delta

TENNERTON — The Buckhannon- Upshur High School boys’ varsity basketball team (4-1) welcomed the Riverside Warriors (1-4) to town for a non-conference game. Coming off big wins against Preston County and rival Lewis County in the days leading up to Christmas, the Bucs entered the game looking to build on their already impressive early season resume.

The Bucs wasted no time getting started offensively, jumping out to an early lead fueled by 7-0 run to start the game. The team’s scorching hot start was led by sharpshooting senior guard Harrison Walker, who hit 3 of his 5 shots beyond the arc on the night in the first quarter alone. Up 15-9 at the end of the first period, the varsity team cooled off a bit in the second quarter, seeing their scoring output slightly drop from 15 to 11. The boys took a 26-15 lead going into the locker-room at the end of the first half.

Coming out of the halftime break, the Bucs didn’t miss a beat, scoring 22 points in the third quarter. “Do-it all” senior forward Lamar Hurst built upon his 7-point performance in the first half by doubling that total in the third, netting another 7 points, while versatile defensive stopper junior forward Shawn Blandinio put together one of his most dominant stretches of the young season, scoring all 9 of his points on the night in the opening period of the second half. Boasting a comfortable lead going into the fourth and final quarter, the Bucs kept control of the game, finishing strong down the stretch. Per usual, the Bucs leaned heavily on the duo of Hurst and Walker in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, and they delivered, scoring 12 of the team’s 16 fourth quarter points to cap off the 64-47 win at home over the Riverside Warriors.

As a team, the boys hit 26 total shots from the field, 20 2-point field goals and 6 3-point field goals. Despite shooting the ball well from the field as a collective unit, the team only converted 6 of their 13 free throw attempts, which gives them an area to focus on cleaning up going forward.

The Bucs had two players score over 20 points, with Walker finishing with 24 and Hurst finishing with 21. With the two combining for 45 total points, nearly outscoring the Warriors by themselves, the rest of the team simply had to play complementary offensive roles to secure the victory over Riverside. Junior forward Shawn Blandino scored 9 points, all in the third quarter. Sophomore forward Ian Strader continued his strong play of late, providing a spark for the Bucs off the bench with his defense and rebounds. Strader also efficiently took advantage of his open looks offensively, scoring 6 points on the night. Both seniors Sterlin Thropp and Oliver King finished the night with 2 points apiece to round out the scoring for the Bucs against Riverside.

With the win over Monday night, the boys’ varsity team improves to 5-1 on the season. Next up, the Bucs will look to further build on their impressive season as they take on the Parkersburg Big Reds, capping off this week’s action before entering a tough upcoming three-game stretch in the first week of 2022. During the stretch, the boys will find themselves pitted against the likes of Hampshire, North Marion, and Grafton.

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