TENNERTON – Senior guard Sterlin Thropp saved his best game of the year for Senior Night when the Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers hosted Lewis County Thursday night at the high school.
Thropp had a game-high 21 points and added seven steals in a convincing 60-33 victory in a game that they never trailed in.
“I give all the credit to my teammates,” Thropp said. “They were flying around doing everything they needed to do. Our defense allowed us to get some easy transition baskets. We wanted to take away the things they do well on defense, and it’s how we got out to an early lead. We have been struggling for some time now, and it was nice to get the win on our home court. Hopefully, we can keep moving forward after this.”
“His defense really led to his offense,” noted Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Travis Foster. “He had a lot of easy baskets from his steals. He plays so hard. Our transition game was really good tonight, and he was a large part of that. Sterlin is a special player; he gives you 150 percent no matter what. He deserves success for his hard work. He works hard every game.”
The Bucs played one of their better all-around games against Lewis County, coming off the heels of perhaps their worst outing of the season just 24 hours earlier in a home loss to University. The Bucs outrebounded Lewis County by 10 and committed just eight turnovers in the blowout win.
“We had to find guys that wanted to sprint from rim to rim,” Foster said. “To play how we coach. Whether we are playing the best team in the state or the worst team in the state, we have to have a good attitude and effort. If we have those two things, good things will happen and we haven’t had that the last couple of weeks. We had to make some changes and get back to playing how we want to play, and we did some of that tonight.”
Youth was also served on Senior Night as sophomores Ian Strader and Jaden Westfall both had big contributions in the win for the Bucs.
Strader had a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds, and Westfall tallied 16 points while pulling down six rebounds.
“We had both Strader and Westfall on the court at the same time tonight,” remarked Foster. “I thought they really complemented each other. They weren’t standing, they were moving and making plays. If you play hard you are going to do okay, and they gave us that effort tonight. It was good to see that from those two sophomores.”
The Bucs raced out to a 13-0 lead and didn’t let Lewis County score until 13 seconds remaining in the first quarter when Tanner Griffith nailed a three-pointer.
Up 15-5, the Bucs used a 6-0 run, getting baskets from Westfall, Strader and Thropp, taking a 21-5 lead with three minutes gone in the second quarter.
Leading 27-9, Strader put in consecutive baskets to wrap up the half treating the Bucs to a 31-9 lead at the break.
With B-U up 33-12, Thropp put in five straight points for a 38-12 lead with 4:38 remaining in the third quarter. A lay-up by Westfall gave the Bucs a 30-point lead, at 44-14, with two minutes showing on the third-quarter clock and the Bucs owned a 46-18 advantage heading into the final stanza.
A three-pointer by Nathaniel Ringer gave the Bucs their biggest lead of the game with 2:06 remaining, at 32 points at 60-28.
Lewis County scored the final five points of the contest. Owen Hunt led Lewis County with 10 points as the Minutemen dropped to 6-14 on the year.
Buckhannon-Upshur improved to 9-10 on the year and will be back in action Saturday making the long trip to the eastern panhandle to play No. 1 Jefferson who is 17-0, one of only two undefeated teams left in the state in all classes.
Game time is slated for 4 p.m.
Lewis County 3 6 9 15 – 33
Buckhannon-Upshur 13 18 15 14 – 60
Lewis County 33
Owen Hunt 5-10 0-0 10; Tanner Griffith 3-8 0-0 8; Ben Putnam 2-4 0-0 6; Bryant Zielinksi 2-3 2-4 6; Grant Acord 1-2 0-0 2; Manny Robinson 0-5 1-1 1; Zach James 0-1 0-0 0; Joey Aman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-33 3-6 33.
Sterlin Thropp 10-21 1-1 21; Jaden Westfall 8-14 0-0 16; Ian Strader 4-8 3-4 13; Lamar Hurst 1-3 2-2 5; Nathaniel Ringer 1-1 0-0 3; Zach Calef-Boring 1-8 0-0 2; Mason Hyre 0-2 0-0 0; Harrison Walker 0-1 0-0 0; Oliver King 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-58 6-7 60.
Three-point field goals – Lewis County: Putnam 2-4; Griffith 2-7; Robinson 0-2; Acord 0-1; Hunt 0-1. Totals 4-15; Buckhannon-Upshur: Ringer 1-1; Hurst 1-2; Thropp 0-1; Hyre 0-1; Walker 0-1 Strader 0-1; Calef-Boring 0-3. Totals 2-10.
Rebounds – Lewis County: Putnam 6; Robinson 5; Griffith 3; Hunt 3; team 2; deadball 2; Zielinski 2. Totals 23; Buckhannon-Upshur: Strader 14; Westfall 6; Hurst 4; Thropp 3; Calef-Boring 2; team 2; King 1; deadball 1. Totals 33.
Assists – Lewis County: Robinson 2; Hunt 2 Acord 1. Totals 5; Buckhannon-Upshur: Strader 4; Thropp 4; Calef-Boring 2; Westfall 2. Totals 12.
Steals – Lewis County: Robinson 2; Acord 2; Putnam 2. Totals 6; Buckhannon-Upshur: Thropp 7; King 4; Strader 3; Walker 2. Totals 16.
Blocked shots – Lewis County: Putnam 1. Totals 1; Buckhannon-Upshur: None.
Turnovers – Lewis County: 21; Buckhannon-Upshur: 8.
Personal fouls – Lewis County: 8; Buckhannon-Upshur: 4.