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Jerin Westfall (14) scored a game-high 15 points in B-U's 54-39 win over Lincoln. (Bobbie Hatcher/My Buckhannon)

Big fourth quarter propels Bucs past Cougars, 54-39

TENNERTON – The Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers used a strong fourth quarter to race past the Lincoln Cougars by a 54-39 score Wednesday night in Big 10 Conference action.

After putting up just 31 points in the first three quarters and nursing a three-point going into the fourth quarter, the Bucs put up 23 in the final quarter to pull away with a 15-point victory.

“It’s amazing what happens when you make a shot,” remarked Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Jason Westfall about his team’s big fourth quarter.

Westfall said it was important for his team to regain their confidence and return to the win column after letting their game with Lewis County on Monday slip away.

“Getting a win tonight after our Lewis County loss was a huge priority,” said coach Westfall. “We can’t let games slip away like we did Monday against Lewis County. We wanted to cleanse our palate tonight against Lincoln. We knew Lincoln would be a dogfight and it would have been very easy to simply go through the motions. We have goals and we want to win, you can’t say things about winning and not show up ready to play against Lincoln. We were under .500 coming into this game and that is unacceptable for this team. I can’t be anymore clear about winning and making the plays to win.”

The Bucs, who may have been carrying some of that residue over from Monday’s game, came out slow against Lincoln and was down 9-5 with 4:12 remaining in the first quarter.

Following a time-out by Westfall, the Bucs began to play better and outscored Lincoln 8-3 in the final four minutes of the quarter including ending it on a 6-0 run behind a three-pointer from Ian Strader and three free throws from Luke Yardley.

That gave the Bucs a 13-12 lead going into the second quarter.

During the first four minutes of a slow moving second quarter, the Bucs scored six straight points on a pair of free throws from Carter Zuliani and a pair of jumpers from Jaden Westfall for a 19-12 advantage.

Unfortunately for the Bucs, they didn’t score in the final four minutes of the quarter allowing Lincoln to go on a 7-0 run and deadlock the game at the break, at 19-19.

The Bucs were down by their biggest deficit of the game, at 26-22 with 3:18 left in the third quarter, but Strader made two free throws and Jerin Westfall uncorked a trey to give the lead back to the Bucs at 27-26.

Following a basket by Lincoln’s Aidan Rice with 1:37 left in the third quarter, Strader unleashed a three-pointer and Zuliani made a free throw to put the Bucs ahead for good at 31-28 going into the final eight minutes.

Jerin Westfall started the fourth-quarter scoring with a three-pointer to treat the Bucs to a 34-28 advantage.

Up 38-34, Strader and Jerin Westfall put in consecutive three-pointers which ballooned the B-U lead up to 10, at 44-34, with 3:17 remaining.

Lincoln never got any closer than nine points the rest of the way as B-U won the game at the free-throw line in the final three minutes.

“We put ourselves in position to win this game late and that is something we didn’t do against Lewis County on Monday,” noted Westfall. “Lincoln is a scrappy team and they made it tough on us, but I am so proud of the resolve of the team. The big thing was we couldn’t let Monday’s game infect the rest of our season. We took advantage of our opportunities tonight and shot the ball with some confidence.”

Jerin Westfall led the Bucs in scoring with 15 points, with 12 of them coming in the second half.

He also added three rebounds and two blocks.

“I came into the locker room at the half telling myself I needed to make a shot,” stated Jerin Westfall. “I just stayed focused, and the shots dropped for me in the second half. We were a little down in the first half, but we picked up our energy in the second half which allowed us to get the win. We tried to play at our pace in the second half and not theirs like we did in the first half.”

Strader also reached double digits for the Bucs with 13 points while collecting six rebounds.

Lincoln shot the ball at just a 30.6 clip making good on 15 of their 49 field goal attempts.

Nate Swiger led the Cougars in scoring with 11 points.

Lincoln dropped to 1-3 on the season and 0-1 in the Big 10 Conference.

The Bucs improved to 2-2 overall and 2-2 in the Big 10.

Buckhannon-Upshur will return to action Thursday in the three-day Ram Hardwood Classic in Strasburg (Va.).

They will face East Rockingham (Va.) on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

“We are looking forward to this tournament,” concluded coach Westfall. “There are some very good teams in this field. We aren’t going for a vacation; this is a business trip, and we are expecting to win some games. We are excited about this opportunity, and I think playing a big tournament like this will help down the road as we get ready for our sectional tournament in two months.”

The boxscore:

Lincoln 12  7  9  11 – 39

Buckhannon-Upshur 13  6  12  23 – 54

Lincoln 39

Nate Swiger 5-11 0-2 11; Aidan Rice 3-8 0-0 6; Brayden Edgell 1-13 4-8 6; Riley Lanham 2-4 0-0 6; David Burdette 2-8 0-0 5; A.J. Bart 1-2 1-1 3; Wyatt Finch 1-3 0-0 2; Landon Swiger 0 0-0 0; Maddox Perine 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-49 5-11 39.

Buckhannon-Upshur 54

Jerin Westfall 5-9 1-2 15; Ian Strader 4-6 2-2 13; Malaki Wiliams 3-3 2-6 8; Cater Zuliani 0-7 7-10 7; Jaden Westfall 2-4 0-2 4; Luke Yardley 0-3 3-4 3; Nathaniel Ringer 0-1 2-2 2; Brody McDaniels 0-0 2-2 2; Bryson Johnston 0-2 0-0 0; Landon Marple 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-35 19-30 54.

Three-point field goals – Lincoln: Lanham 2-4; Burdette 1-4; Swiger 1-3; Edgell 0-3; Finch 0-2; Rice 0-2; Bart 0-1 Totals 4-19; Buckhannon-Upshur: Jerin Westfall 4-7; Strader 3-4; Yardley 0-3; Ringer 0-1. Totals 7-15.

Rebounds – Lincoln: Swiger 7; team 7; deadball 5; Finch 4; Rice 3; Bart 2; Burdette 2; Edgell 2. Totals 32; Buckhannon-Upshur: Zuliani 8; Strader 6; Jaden Westfall 6; team 6; Jerin Westfall 3; Williams 3; deadball 3; Johnston 2; Marple 1; McDaniels 1; Yardley 1. Totals 40.

Assists – Lincoln: Edgell 5; Finch 2; Burdette 1. Totals 8; Buckhannon-Upshur: Strader 3; McDaniels 1; Ringer 1; Jaden Westfall 1; Jerin Westfall 1. Totals 7.

Steals – Lincoln: Finch 3; Burdette 2; Swiger 2; Edgell 1; Perine 1. Totals 9; Buckhannon-Upshur: Jaden Westfall 3; Ringer 2; Williams 2; Jerin Westfall 1; Yardley 1; Zuliani 1. Totals 10.

Blocked shots – Lincoln: None; Buckhannon-Upshur: Jerin Westfall 2; Ringer 1. Totals 3.

Turnovers – Lincoln: 13; Buckhannon-Upshur: 16.

Personal fouls – Lincoln: 21; Buckhannon-Upshur: 15.

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