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The Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers celebrate their 2023 championship in the Ram Hardwood Classic (Bobbie Hatcher).

Basketball Bucs claim Ram Hardwood Classic championship

STRASBURG (Va.) – The Buckhannon-Upshur basketball Buccaneers came up big in the 2023 Ram Hardwood Classic last week winning an eight-team tournament beating three teams from Virginia in three days.

They opened the tournament with a 49-41 win over East Rockingham (Va.), beat Skyline in the semifinals by a 66-50 score and then ended a 32-game winning streak by Lancaster downing them in the championship game by a 43-37 contest.

“This was a great experience for our team, and we competed well against some very good teams,” stated Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Jason Westfall. “I am proud of how we bonded together and found ways to win. Each player contributed to the wins. We played some good competition, and our guys didn’t back down.”

In their opener with East Rockingham, the Bucs led 32-28 heading into the final quarter and held on for an eight-point win.

Carter Zuliani led the Bucs with 14 points and nine rebounds while Ian Strader contributed nine points and eight rebounds.

“We started slow and went down 8-2 early,” noted Westfall. “We had to dig deep for this win. It was a very physical game. I credit them for taking us out of our game plan early.  They made us earn this win.”

B-U moved on to play Skyline, which won the tournament a year ago.

The Bucs trailed by a 20-15 score after one quarter but clamped down on Skyline in the second quarter holding them to just two field goals and four points taking a 28-24 lead at the break.

Buckhannon-Upshur used that momentum to dominate the second half outscoring Skyline by a 38-26 margin in the final two quarters.

Zuliani again led the Bucs with a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds while Malaki Williams tallied 14 points and Strader had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds while dishing out six assists.

In the title game, they faced small school defending champion Lancaster who brought a 32-game winning streak into the contest.

B-U held a 29-28 advantage going into the final frame and held on for a 43-37 victory.

Strader had a team-high 15 points to go along with four rebounds while Zuliani had another double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Zuliani, Strader and Jerin Westfall were named to the All-Tournament Team.

The three wins lifted the Bucs to 5-2 overall.

They will be back in action Friday at North Marion in a Big 10 Conference battle starting at 7:30 p.m.

The boxscore:

Buckhannon-Upshur 12  11  9  17 – 49

East Rockingham 10  7  11  13 – 41

Buckhannon-Upshur 49

Carter Zuliani 6 2-6 14; Ian Strader 4 0-0 9; Bryson Johnston 2 1-2 5; Nathaniel Ringer 1 1-2 4; Luke Yardley 1 2-2 4; Jerin Westfall 1 0-0 3; Jaden Westfall 1 1-2 3; Jevon Westfall 0 3-4 3; Malaki Williams 1 0-0 2; Landon Marple 0 2-2 2; Brody McDaniels 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 12-20 49.

East Rockingham 41

Kain Shifflett 7 0-3 16; Ryan Williams 4 0-1 11; Dean Robinson 1 4-4 6; Xavia Brown 2 0-2 4; Camden Clem 1 0-0 2; Trestan Jones 1 0-0 2; Caleb Hodges 0 0-0 0; Jaiden Sweet 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 4-10 41

Three-point field goals – Buckhannon-Upshur: Jerin Westfall 1;  Strader 1; Ringer 1. Totals 3; East Rockingham: Williams 3; Shifflett 2. Totals 5.

Fouls – Buckhannon-Upshur 14; East Rockingham 17.

Buckhannon-Upshur 15  13  19  19 – 66

Skyline 20  4  16  10 – 50

Buckhannon-Upshur 66

Carter Zuliani 8 0-3 16; Malaki Williams 6 2-3 14; Ian Strader 3 3-4 10; Nathaniel Ringer 2 1-2 6; Jerin Westfall 2 0-0 5; Jaden Westfall 2 1-2 5; Luke Yardley 1 3-3 5; Landon Marple 1 0-0 3; Jevon Westfall 1 0-0 2; Bryson Johnston 0 0-0 0; Brody McDaniels 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 10-17 66.

Skyline 50

Dwayne Tucker 7 7 1-5 15; Wood 3 1-1 8; Alijah James 3 1-2 8; Andre Ford 4 0-0 8; Caden Thorne 2 0-0 5; Isiah Maxwell 0 4-5 4; Ahsan Caison 1 0-0 2; Vaught 0 0-0 0; Binnix 0 0-0 0; Dayshawn Haley 0 0-0 0; Cole Logan 0 0-0 0; Marques Lockhart 0 0-0 0; Smith 0 0-0 0. 20 7-13

Three-point field goals – Buckhannon-Upshur: Strader 1; Ringer 1; Jerin Westfall 1; Marple 1. Totals 4; Skyline: Wood 1; Thorne 1; James 1. Total 3.

Fouls – Buckhannon-Upshur 12; Skyline: 17.

Buckhannon-Upshur 16  6  7  14 – 43

Lancaster 11  6  11  9 – 37

Buckhannon-Upshur 43

Ian Strader 6 3-4 15; Carter Zuliani 7 0-1 14; Jerin Westfall 3 0-0 9; Jaden Westfall 1 1-4 3; Malaki Williams 0 1-2 1; Bryson Johnston 0 1-2 1; Jevon Westfall 0 0-0 0; Nathaniel Ringer 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 6-13 43.

Lancaster 37

Troy Henderson 11 0-0 27; Lamar Mattocks 2 0-2 4; Kevontrez Bunns 1 0-0 3; Davion Smith 1 1-2 3; JaMarcus Russell 0 0-0 0; Tylil Walters 0 0-0 0; Terell Diggs 0 0-0 0; Toni Thomas 0 0-0 0; Jaquarius Morris 0 0-0 0; Jayden Crockett 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 1-4 37,

Three-point field goals – Buckhannon-Upshur: Jerin Westfall 3. Totals 3. Lancaster: Henderson: 5; Burns 1. Totals 6

Fouls – Buckhannon-Upshur: 7; Lancaster: 16.

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