TENNERTON — The Buckhannon- Upshur High School junior varsity team welcomed the Riverside Warriors to town Monday, December 27. Coming off their first win of the season in their last game against the Preston Knights, head coach Keith Wolverton’s Bucs looked to keep building positive momentum against the Warriors.
The JV team got off to a slow offensive start, only managing to score 7 first quarter points to enter the second quarter trailing by 4, 11-7. The Bucs picked it up a notch in the second, narrowly outscoring the Warriors 13-12 in the period to head into the locker-room down 3, 23-20.
To start the second half, the JV Bucs turned up the defensive pressure, forcing the Warriors out of their offensive comfort zone. Fueled by an outstanding defensive effort, the Bucs wrestled the lead away from the Warriors by the end of the third quarter. Up 36-33 at the start of the fourth, the Bucs finished strong, narrowly outlasting a worthy Riverside team, winning by a final score of 48-44.
As a team, the boys looked to attack the paint early and often, hitting 18 2-point field goals compared to only 1 made shot from beyond the arc. The Bucs used their defense to get out and run-in transition to generate good looks offensively. The boys didn’t shoot particularly well from the line, finishing just under 50% from the charity stripe, hitting 9 of their 17 attempts from the line.
Sophomore Luke Yardley starred for the JV team, scoring 16 of his 24 points during a second half surge. Freshman Carter Zuliani followed up his double-digit scoring outing against Preston by hitting that milestone again, scoring 11 points against Riverside. Sophomore Jayden Westfall scored 5 points, while junior Keyton Lanier scored 4 points to complement Yardley and Zuliani’s strong offensive outings. Sophomores Byrson Johnson and Nathaniel Ringer both finished the night with 2 points to round out the scoring numbers for the Bucs junior varsity team Monday night.
Next up, the team will take on the Parkersburg Big Reds before a three-game stretch against Hampshire, North Marion, and Grafton in the first week of 2022. The Bucs junior varsity team will look to end the year by continuing to trend in the right direction.