NUTTERFORT — The Buckhannon-Upshur boys varsity basketball team was back in action last Friday, January 21 as they traveled to take on, Big 10 Conference foe, the Robert C. Byrd Eagles.
Coming into the game, the Bucs were looking to fight their way back into the win column after a loss to Fairmont Senior, exactly a week prior on January 14. On the other hand, the Eagles entered the game aiming to earn their first conference win of the season. Both teams had plenty to play for, which had a huge impact in terms of the intensity that these teams brought to the hardwood.
B-U started off the game outscoring the Eagles 15-11 in the first quarter. Junior point guard Zach Calef-Boring led the way, scoring 5 early points to pace the Bucs offensively. By halftime, the team had extended their 4-point lead to double-digits, outscoring the Eagles 11-5 in the second quarter to head into the locker-room with a 26-16 lead.
The Bucs offense slowed down a bit in the third quarter, opening up a window for the Eagles to get back into the game. The Eagles seized the opportunity, outscoring the Bucs 11-9, cutting the B-U lead to single digits entering the fourth quarter. The final quarter was a back-and-forth affair, with both team’s doing most of their scoring from the free throw line. With the referees playing a huge part down the stretch, the Eagles outscored the Bucs 21-13 to win the game 53-51.
With the heartbreaking loss, in which they surrendered a 10-point halftime lead, the Bucs drop 4-2 in conference play and 6-5 overall. Despite the loss, there isn’t anything for the players to hang their heads about. The team played well as a collective unit and almost earned a conference road win, despite one of their key players being sidelined with an injury and a bevy of calls in pivotal moments of the game.
As a team, the Bucs hit 15 2-point field goals, 2 made 3-point field goals and shot 15-25 from the free throw line. The Bucs saw 5 players etch their names in the scoring column, with 4 of them putting up double-digit scoring numbers.
Senior forward Lamar Hurst was an offensive force, inside, for the Bucs against RCB, scoring 16 points on 4 made 2-point field goals and 8-13 shooting from the free throw line. The senior posed a match-up problem for the Eagles from the opening tip, often getting to the cup, either finishing or drawing contact and going to the line, seemingly at will.
After a strong, first quarter, Calef-Boring scored an additional 6 points to bring his total on the night to 11 points. Calef-Boring hit 3 2-point field goals, a single made 3-point field goal and shot 2-6 from the free throw line. In addition to his responsibilities running the Bucs offense, Calef-Boring also played a key role in helping space the floor, allowing Hurst to operate more freely inside, being a threat from the 3-point line.
Senior combo guard Mason Hyre showed his ability, as a three-level finisher on offense, scoring 10 points on 2 made 2-point field goals, a single made 3-point field goal and 3-4 shooting from the charity stripe. Hyre was a steadying force for the Bucs, chipping in points every quarter. Hyre seems to be assuming a larger scoring role in senior guard Harrison Walker’s absence, being more aggressive in looking for his shot in the last few games.
Senior wing Sterlin Thropp was the fourth Buc to hit the double-digit scoring milestone. Thropp had quite an efficient night, slashing through the paint with cuts and off the bounce, scoring all 10 of his points on 2-point field goals. Thropp also played up to his own personal lofty standards on defense.
Junior forward Shawn Blandino scored all 4 of his points on the night in the third quarter, keeping the Bucs effort to stave off the Eagles alive by accounting for nearly half of the team’s points in the period.
Next, the Bucs will travel to Parkersburg to take on Parkersburg South High School, today at 7:30 p.m.