Jerin Westfall (14) had a team-high 18 points to help the Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers upset No. 2 East Fairmont by a 60-58 score Thursday night. (Bobbie Hatcher/My Buckhannon).

Bucs take sting out of Class AAA No. 2 Bees in 60-58 victory; finish regular season at 15-6

TENNERTON – The Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers saved their best for last in an instant classic in a 60-58 thriller over the Class AAA No. 2 East Fairmont Bees Thursday night at the high school.

In their regular-season finale, the Bucs overcame an early second-half eight-point deficit for a two-point victory over the second-ranked Bees.

The Bucs owned a 25-21 lead at the half but came out of the intermission and turned the ball over on four of their first five second-half possessions and quickly saw their half team lead evaporate into a 33-25 deficit after an East Fairmont 12-0 run to start the third quarter.

Following a time out by B-U head coach Jason Westfall, the Bucs responded with a 10-0 run, that included a pair of three-pointers and a lay-up from Jerin Westfall and a dunk from Ian Strader, that returned the lead back to them at 35-33 but they went into the fourth quarter tied at 39-39 with the Bees.

Jaden Westfall put in consecutive baskets to begin the fourth quarter giving B-U a 43-39 advantage and the Bucs built their lead to eight points, at 55-47, following a dunk by Malaki Williams with 2:07 remaining.

The Bees, however, wouldn’t go away and a three-pointer by East Fairmont’s Blake Hunter closed the B-U lead down to one, at 58-57, with 25 seconds remaining.

Williams put in a free throw to make it a 59-57 contest with 15 seconds remaining, but Jackson Crouso put in a free throw for the Bees on the other end to put the score at 59-58 with nine seconds left.

The Bucs were called for a travel after taking the inbounds pass giving the ball back to the Bees under their own basket with seven seconds left.

Jaden Westfall knocked the inbounds pass out of bounds to the sideline taking a second off the clock, he then stole the sideline inbounds pass away from East Fairmont with 3.7 seconds remaining before getting fouled.

He made one of two at the line giving the Bucs a 60-58 lead, and with the Bees rushing the ball up the court, it bounced away from Crouso and into the waiting hands of Jaden Westfall as time expired.

“I am so proud of our group,” remarked coach Westfall. “They have committed to a single goal of winning and making that winning play. In order to do that, we have to compete for every play. The example they showed in this game shows that we can compete at a high level.”

A three-pointer by Strader and a jumper by Carter Zuliani gave the Bucs an early 11-4 lead, and after a 7-0 East Fairmont run, Strader ended the opening quarter with a lay-up treating the Bucs to a 13-11 advantage.

Down, 16-15, a pair of free throws by Williams and a putback by Zuliani returned the lead back to the Bucs, at 19-16, with 3:42 remaining in the half.

An outside jumper by Jaden Westfall wrapped up the first half scoring giving the Bucs their 25-21 lead going into the third quarter.

Jerin Westfall, who led the third-quarter charge for the Bucs, ended the game with a team-high 18 points including going four-of-eight from behind the three-point stripe.

“This was a big win, but we are just getting started and our work isn’t finished,” stated Jerin. “When we play as a team, anything is possible. We know what we have to do every game. As long as we are focused come sectionals, and everyone is executing on both sides of the ball, we can compete. Our mindset throughout the season is to win, and that won’t change when the sectional tournament gets here.”

Jaden Westfall added 13 points while Williams contributed 10.

The Bucs held a massive 41-24 rebounding margin with Zuliani leading the way with nine rebounds.

Hunt led East Fairmont with 23 points while Crouso chipped in 20 for the Bees, who dropped to 15-6

The Bucs concluded their regular season with a 15-6 record.

They will now visit Bridgeport (17-5) Wednesday in their sectional tournament opener. That game will start at 7 p.m.

“To end our season with this caliber of a win will help develop our post-season mindset,” concluded coach Westfall. “We are a tight-knit group, and they want to help each other make the winning play. We are healthy and prepared. We want to do well. We will take this time leading up to our game Wednesday and develop our gameplan for what we anticipate will be a battle with Bridgeport.”

The boxscore:

East Fairmont 11  10  18  19 – 58

Buckhannon-Upshur  13  12  14  21 – 60

East Fairmont 58

Blake Hunt 8-12 0-0 23; Jackson Crouso 7-16 6-10 20; Drew Moore 3-6 0-0 7; Maddox Boyers 1-7 3-8 5; Avery Brown 1-3 0-0 3; Ian Crookshanks 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-44 9-18 58.

Buckhannon-Upshur 60

Jerin Westfall 6-12 2-2 18; Jaden Westfall 5-11 2-5 13; Malaki Williams 2-5 6-10 10; Ian Strader 3-8 2-2 9; Carter Zuliani 4-9 0-0 8; Nathaniel Ringer 1-1 0-0 2; Jevon Westfall 0-1 0-0 0; Bryson Johnston 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-46 12-19 60.

Three-point field goals – East Fairmont: Hunt 7-11; Brown 1-3; Moore 1-2; Crouso 0-2; Boyers 0-1; Totals 9-19; Buckhannon-Upshur: Jerin Westfall 4-8; Strader 1-3; Jaden Westfall 1-2; Jevon Westfall 0-1; Williams 0-1. Totals 6-15.

Rebounds – East Fairmont: Crouso 8; Crookshanks 4; deadball 4; Moore 3; Hunt 2; team 2; Boyers 1. Totals 24; Buckhannon-Upshur: Zuliani 9; Jerin Westfall 7; Williams 7; Jaden Westfall 5; deadball 5; Strader 4; Jevon Westfall 2; team 2. Totals 41.

Assists – East Fairmont: Boyers 7; Crookshanks 3; Crouso 3; Moore 1. Totals 14; Buckhannon-Upshur: Strader 2; Jaden Westfall 2; Jevon Westfall 2; Ringer 1; Zuliani 1. Totals 8.

Steals – East Fairmont: Boyers 2; Crookshanks 1; Crouso 1; Hunt 1; Moore 1. Totals 6; Buckhannon-Upshur: Strader 3; Jaden Westfall 3; Ringer 1; Jerin Westfall 1; Zuliani 1. Totals 9.

Blocked shots – East Fairmont: Crouso 5. Totals 5; Buckhannon-Upshur: Jaden Westfall 1; Zuliani 1. Totals 2.

Turnovers – East Fairmont: 10; Buckhannon-Upshur: 14.

Fouls – East Fairmont: 14; Buckhannon-Upshur: 14.

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