Westfall, B-UMS Varsity team start new tradition after two straight victories

Varisty huddles as they plan an offensive strategy with head coach Jason Westfall. PHOTO SUBMITTED

BUCKHANNON — After losing to Lincoln 33-23 in an absolute battle back on January 14, the Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School boys varsity basketball team was back in action this week with back-to-back games against Braxton and Trinity Christian on Monday, January 24 and Tuesday, January 25. 

Monday, the varsity Little Bucs welcomed the Braxton County Little Eagles to town. Fueled by a massive, 25-point first half, the Little Bucs held a 25-11 lead going into halftime. In the second half, outside of a very quiet third quarter, in which the team only scored 2 total points, the Little Bucs dominated the Little Eagles to close out a 39-27 victory to start their week out on a positive note. 

A total of 6 players scored for the Little Bucs balanced offensive attack against the Little Eagles. Jerin Westfall led the way with 16 total points on 2 made 2-point field goals and recording an outstanding 12-13 (92.3%) shooting mark from the free throw line. Jacob Frye narrowly missed out on being the second Little Buc in double-figures, ending the game with 8 points by hitting 2 2-point field goals, the team’s only 3-point field goal, and 1-3 (33.3%) shooting from the free throw line. Jaxon Spratt scored 6 points on the game, doing all her damage from inside the arc, hitting 3 2-point field goals. Levi Posey scored 5 points, hitting 2 2-point field goals and splitting his free throw attempts during his lone trip to the line. Dawson Tenney and Julian Stevens scored 2 points on a single made 2-point field goal apiece to round out the scoring numbers for the Little Bucs against Braxton.

The following day, the Little Bucs welcomed Trinity Christian to Buckhannon. The varsity Little Bucs wasted no time building a 9-3 first quarter lead on the back of their overwhelming defense. While the Little Bulldogs adjusted to the Little Bucs defensive pressure as the second quarter wore on, they still only managed to add 9 points in the period. Going into the locker-room for halftime, the Little Bucs held a 7-point, 19-12 lead.

The team’s offense exploded for 17 points in the third quarter, bringing the score to 36-19 entering the fourth and final quarter. While the Little Bucs got slightly outscored in the game’s final period, 13-12; it was far too little, too late for the Little Bulldogs to get back into the game. The Little Bucs led from start to finish in the 48-32 win over Trinity Christian, marking their back-to-back win.

When asked about his team’s performance this week, B-UMS boys varsity basketball head coach Jason Westfall stated, “The Lincoln game was a cage fight and we haven’t done the best in those type of games, so far this year. We dug ourselves a hole in the first half and couldn’t seem to get over the hump to get back in the game in the second half. Rebounding from that tough loss was our team’s main goal entering this week. And we managed to do that against Braxton. In that game we corrected some of key mistakes that cost us the Lincoln game, especially in terms of running our offense in the half-court and execute our defensive game plan. The momentum we built as a team during our win against Braxton, carried over into the game against Trinity Christian. We fought through the injury of our starting point guard Cooper Antolini and gutted out a win. While our team will miss his contributions on the court, he is transitioning into a role as my assistant on the bench as he recovers from a broken ankle. This allows him to stay engaged with the team and give his perspective on games to teammates.”

Westfall pointed towards his team’s improving defensive play as a huge role in the two straight wins, saying, ““These last two games, I think that we did a really good job of using our outstanding man defense to fuel our offense. Our team excels in transition, so forcing turnovers and getting out in the open floor is key to our success.” He also pointed to his team opening the game on stronger notes in the last two games as another reason for his team putting together two consecutive wins, saying, “Early this season, our team has started games off slow, but these past two games, our boys were ready to go.”

Following each of the past two wins, the B-UMS boys varsity team has ushered in a new post-game tradition following wins. The players and coaches douse themselves by throwing water from water bottles on each other in chaotic and joyous celebration. The tradition seems to be a hit with the team and has the potential to stick with the program long after the players have moved up to the next level.

When asked about what to expect from his team moving forward, Westfall said, “I expect us to continue to do our best at dealing with adversity. I am so proud of my team’s resolve and how far they have come since the start of the season. They show up and work hard every single day, focusing on developing as players. Going forward, we are prepared to keep battling game in and game out.”

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