TENNERTON — Keith Wolverton and the Buckhannon-Upshur High School boys junior varsity basketball team welcomed the Fairmont Senior Polar Bear to Tennerton on Friday, January 14. While the JV team displayed great resilience, almost overcoming a lackluster opening quarter to steal the win, their efforts fell short, ending in a 66-59 defeat.
The B-U boys started off slow, on both sides of the ball, getting outscored 22-7 in the first quarter. Facing a 15-point deficit, the Bucs responded by outscoring the Polar Bears 20-12 in the second quarter to cut the deficit down to 34-27 going into the locker-room for intermission.
After a quiet first quarter, Barton went to work pacing the Bucs offensively on his way to scoring a team-high 19 points for Wolverton’s junior varsity team. The freshman did all his damage inside the three-point arc, hitting 8 total 2-point field goals to go along with 3-5 (60%) shooting from the free throw line.
The Bucs continued to whittle away at the deficit, again outscoring the Polar Bears 12-8 in the third, to make it 42-39 game entering the fourth and final quarter. The team’s attempt to overtake their opponent was thwarted, as the Polar Bears scored 24 points. The Polar Bears massive fourth quarter snuffed out any hope for a potential comeback. Despite the valiant and commendable effort, the Polar Bears came up big, down the stretch, dominating the junior varsity Bucs.
Sophomore standout Luke Yardley finished the game as the JV Bucs second-leading scorer with 12 points. Yardley showed his offensive versatility, hitting 3 2-point field goals, a 3-point field goal and 3-6 (50%) shooting from the free throw line.
Sophomore forward Jaden Westfall played key minutes for Buckhannon against the Polar Bears, ending the game as the team’s third leading scorer with 10 points. Westfall hit 3 2-point field goals and shot a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line.
Sophomore Nathaniel Ringer narrowly missed out on being the fourth Buccaneer to reach the double-digit mark, finishing the game with 9 points. Ringer hit 3 2-point field goals and shot 3-10 (30%) from the free throw line.
Sophomore Bryson Johnson hit 2 2-point field goals in the fourth quarter to finish the game with 4 points.
Junior Keyton Lanier had a relatively quiet game compared to earlier offensive explosions exhibited in the season. Against the Polar Bears, Lanier was held to 3 points, all coming as a 3-point field goal as part of the Buc’s push for the lead.
While versatile freshman wing Carter Zuliani primarily focused his energy on defensive and playmaking duties, he chipped in 2 points in the game’s first quarter. The early bucket marked Zuliani’s only scored points, rounding out the scoring numbers for the Bucs against the Polar Bears. Despite only recording one made shot, Zuliani’s influence on the game went far beyond statistical measure.