MORGANTOWN – It was a game where they committed 25 turnovers. It was a game where they were down 11 points in the fourth quarter. It was a game they weren’t supposed to win.
The only problem was nobody told Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Jason Westfall and his Buccaneers that they weren’t supposed to win their Section 2, Region 1 tournament lid-lifer on the road against the University Hawks Tuesday night.
The Bucs overcame all of that adversity for a 60-55 stunning overtime upset over the Hawks.
“We have had a lot of low points in the season, so being down by 11 really didn’t bother us,” remarked Westfall. “We have come back in other games; all I asked of the team was to have us within striking distance in the fourth quarter. We knew they were going to come out in that third quarter and try to steamroll us and they did putting us down 11, but we kept trying to find something that worked. We just kept working and using our height over their traps. We knew if we could make a couple shots we could get back into the game and we did.”
The Bucs went down early by a 5-2 score but baskets by Zach Calef-Boring , Carter Zuliani and Jaden Westfall gave B-U the lead, at 8-5, with 1:05 left in the opening quarter.
University answered with consecutive baskets, but Jerin Westfall ended the frame with a three-pointer treating the Bucs to an 11-9 advantage heading into the second quarter.
The Hawks went on an 8-0 run to start the quarter taking a 17-11 lead.
Jaden Westfall put in a free throw to end the University run but two straight baskets by Hawks put the Bucs down by a 21-12 score with 2:45 left in the half.
Buckhannon-Upshur closed the half on a 7-0 run getting a three-pointer from Jerin Westfall and jumpers from Calef-Boring and Malaki Wiliams cutting their deficit down to two at the break, at 21-19.
A free throw from Zuliani returned the lead back to the Bucs, at 24-23, with 2:21 gone from the third quarter clock, but it was a short-lived lead for the Bucs as the Hawks went on a 10-0 run for a 33-24 advantage with 4:23 left in the quarter.
The Bucs were still down eight when Calef-Boring put in a floater to wrap up the third quarter making it a 41-35 contest heading into the final frame.
University scored the first five points of the fourth quarter for their 11-point lead, at 46-35.
That is when the Bucs decided to take over the game holding the Hawks to just one field goal the rest of the quarter.
B-U went on a 6-0 run behind a lay-up from Ian Strader, a three-pointer from Jevon Westfall and a foul shot from Jaden Westfall to make it a 46-41 game with 4:02 remaining.
After two free throws from University’s Rafael Barcinas that put them up 48-41, B-U went on a 9-0 run as Strader uncorked a three-pointer, Jaden Westfall connected on a free throw, Jerin Westfall made a lay-up and later added a free throw and Zuliani capped off the run with a free throw giving the Bucs a 50-48 lead with 40 seconds remaining.
Barcinas made two foul shots for University tying the game at 50-50 and the Bucs turned the ball over on their next possession committing a foul in the process which put Demarcus Bandy at the line with 11 seconds left.
Bandy made both free throws but the Bucs rushed the ball up court and found Zuliani underneath the basket and he made a lay-up with one second remaining in regulation pushing the game into overtime.
Zuliani made a free throw and then followed that up with a lay-up to give the Bucs a 55-52 advantage but Barcinas unleashed a trey tying the game at 55-55 with 2:07 remaining.
It was the only points the Bucs allowed in the overtime period.
The Bucs closed out the game at the free throw line finishing the contest with five straight points.
“This was almost like a fantasy, it’s hard to believe,” noted Westfall. “When we got down, we tried to keep it simple. Just to win a game in the sectional tournament and have the team have that feeling is great. I am so happy for the team.”
The win for the Bucs was also gratifying as they lost their season-opener to the Hawks by 20 points back on Dec. 6.
“We have really grinded and grown since that first game,” stated Westfall. “We are a young team but we are gaining some experience. We have lost and struggled at times, but we had three good practices leading up the game and I am glad it paid off for them. It wasn’t pretty for us but why would it be.”
Jerin Westfall led the Bucs in scoring with 15 points as they improved to 7-16 on the season.
Calef-Boring and Zuliani each scored 13 points while Strader added nine.
University was led by James Garbert who had 21 points while Barcinas put in 11.
University ended their season with a 13-10 record.
The Bucs will move onto the sectional championship game Thursday in Bridgeport against the Indians.
Bridgeport earned a spot in the sectional title game with a 55-41 win over Preston.
The game will tip at 7 p.m.
The Indians beat the Bucs in the regular-season by a 57-43 score back on Feb. 11.
“They know us and we know them,” concluded Westfall about the sectional title game. “It should be a good ball game.”
Buckhannon-Upshur 11 8 16 17 8 – 60
University 9 12 20 11 3 – 55
Jerin Westfall 4-10 4-4 15; Zach Calef-Boring 5-8 3-3 13; Carter Zuliani 3-5 7-16 13; Ian Strader 4-6 0-0 9; Jaden Westfall 2-5 3-6 7; Malaki Williams 1-2 1-2 3; Bryson Johnson 0-1 0-0 0; Jevon Westfall 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-37 18-31 60.
James Garbart 8-18 3-3 21; Rafael Barcinas 2-7 6-7 11; Landon Cool 4-7 0-0 10; Demarcus Bandy 2-11 2-6 6; Carson Ford 1-4 0-0 3; John Coleman 1-3 0-1 2; Cody Thomas 1-3 0-0 2; Luke Hudson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 19-54 11-17 55.
Three-point field goals – Buckhannon-Upshur: Jerin Wesfall 3-6; Strader 1-2; Calef-Boring 0-1. Totals 4-9; University: Cool 2-2; Garbart 2-6; Ford 1-1; Barcinas 1-2; Coleman 0-1; Bandy 0-2; Hudson 0-2; Thomas 0-2. Totals 6-18.
Rebounds – Buckhannon-Upshur: Jaden Westfall 13; Strader 6; Zuliani 5; Calef-Boring 4; Jerin Westfall 3; Johnston 1; Williams 1. Totals 38; University: Cool 6; Bandy 6; Garbart 5; Coleman 4; Thomas 1. Totals 22.
Assists – Buckhannon-Upshur: Jaden Westfall 4; Jerin Westfall 3; Strader 2; Johnston 1; Calef-Boring 1. Totals 11; University: Coleman 5; Cool 3; Hudson 2; Barcinas 2; Bandy 1; Garbart 1. Totals 14.
Steals – Buckhannon-Upshur: Jerin Westfall 3; Zach Calef-Boring 2; Zuliani 1; Strader 1. Totals 7; University: Bandy 3; Coleman 2; Cool 1; Ford 1; Barcinas 1; Thomas 1; Garbart 1. Totals 10.
Blocked shots – Buckhannon-Upshur: Zuliani 2; Williams 1. Totals 3; University: None.
Turnovers – Buckhannon-Upshur: 25; University: 12.
Fouls – Buckhannon-Upshur: 17; University 25.