TENNERTON — Travis Foster and the Buckhannon-Upshur High School boys varsity basketball team (6-3) continued their biggest, most challenging season yet, as they welcomed one of the state’s top teams, class-AAA’s #3-ranked Fairmont Senior Polar Bears (7-0) to B-UHS. In order for the Bucs’ to accomplish the task of upsetting the Polar Bears, they would have to compensate for the absence of their most consistent perimeter scoring threat senior guard Harrison Walker due to injury.
In the first quarter, the Bucs held up rather well defensively, only allowing Fairmont Senior to score 15 points in the game’s opening period. On the other hand, the B-U boys had a slow offensive start, only scoring 8 points in the first quarter. Down 15-8 at the start of the second quarter, Foster clearly adjusted the team’s offensive game plan, leaning more heavily on senior forward/center Lamar Hurst. Hurst scored 11 of his team-high 20 points in the second quarter, helping the Bucs outscore the Polar Bears 15-13, to cut the deficit to a manageable 5 points.
Coming out of halftime, the Bucs allowed the Polar Bears to score 23 third quarter points. The offense, centered around Hurst, was held in check, only scoring 8 points in the period. In the fourth and final quarter, the Bucs were outscored 21-11 down the stretch, to drop the game by a final score of 72-42. As a team, the Bucs hit a total of 11 2-point field goals, 4 3-point field goals and went 8-13 from the free throw line.
Hurst ended his valiant effort in the loss with 20 points, 4 2-point field goals, 2 3-point field goals, and 6-8 (61.5%) from the free throw line. Hurst did most of his damage in the second quarter with a dazzling performance, which was the primary component in the Bucs huge run to cut into the deficit going into halftime.
Senior combo guard Sterlin Thropp provided his usual high energy effort, doing a good job of hounding opposing ball handlers and getting out in passing lanes. While, the junior guard was the Bucs most physical perimeter defender, he also is a solid shooter and finisher around the rim. Thropp finished the game as the Bucs second-leading scorer, narrowly missing out on hitting the double-digit scoring mark, registering 9 points on 3 2-point field goals and a single 3-point field goal.
Junior point guard Zach Calef-Boring had 3 points, hitting a 2-point field goal in the game’s opening quarter and then split a pair of free throws in the fourth quarter.
Junior forward Shawn Blandino played a key role for the Bucs, offering another long, athletic presence in order to best match up with the Polar Bears. Aside from his efforts on defense and on the glass, Blandino has proved himself to be a capable scoring threat. Blandino finished the game with 4 points, which came on 2 2-point field goals.
Senior guard Mason Hyre was relatively quiet, often focusing his energy on playmaking duties and his defensive responsibilities. Hyre scored 3 points against the Polar Bears, hitting a shot from distance in the third quarter.
Sophomore Ian Strader finished the night with 3 points coming on a single 2-point field goal and 1-3 shooting from the charity stripe.