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Ian Strader (23) had a game-high 26 points for Buckhannon-Upshur in a win over North Marion Friday night. (Bobbie Hatcher/My Buckhannon)

Strader scores 26 as Bucs race past Huskies early in 61-52 win

RACHEL –  The Buckhannon-Upshur Buccaneers used a huge first half to build a 23-point lead against the North Marion Huskies Friday night, then had to hold off a furious Husky really for a 61-52 victory in Big 10 Conference action.

The Bucs owned a 40-17 lead at the half, but saw the Huskies pull to within six with six minutes remaining in the game.

Leading 50-44, Ian Strader took control of the game and scored six straight points for the Bucs over the next 2 ½ minutes treating B-U to a 56-44 advantage as the Bucs were able to hold on during the final three minutes for the nine-point win in a packed and rowdy gym at North Marion High School.

Strader came up big for the Bucs the entire night scoring a game-high 26 points on an impressive nine of 15 shooting night including hitting four three-pointers.

“I tried to just go out there and play my best for the team and to get a win,” said Strader about his 26-point performance. “I realized they were leaving me open on shots, so I kept taking them and they were falling.”

Strader’s highlight of the night was throwing down a dunk in the second quarter which gave B-U a 20- point lead.

“I felt like after I started hitting shots my confidence boosted a lot and after I got the fastbreak dunk it really gave me a confidence boost,” stated Strader. “But the main way I was scoring was because my teammates were finding me when I was open and trusting me to make the shot.”

The win was the fifth in a row for the Bucs as they improved their mark to 6-2 on the year and 3-2 in the conference.

“It feels amazing to be on a five-game winning streak,” noted Strader. “The momentum from the Virginia tournament is going keep going with us. I feel like we finally found out how to play closer to our potential as a team and if we keep playing like we have been, the streak will only be getting bigger.”

The Bucs trailed early by a 6-2 score but used a 13-0 run capped off by a Carter Zuliani short jumper to make it a 15-6 B-U advantage.

Zuliani had another double-double for the  Bucs with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Following a North Marion basket, B-U went on an 11-0 run after an old-fashioned three-point play by Jevon Westfall giving the Bucs a 26-8 lead and they took a 26-10 advantage into the second quarter.

B-U didn’t let up in the second quarter as Strader’s dunk gave the Bucs a 32-12 lead with 4:29 remaining in the half.

Back-to-back three pointers from Strader and Jerin Westfall upped the B-U lead to 38-15 and the Bucs went into the half up by 23, at 40-17.

As hot as the Bucs were in the first half, that is how cold they went in the third quarter.

B-U managed just two field goals and scored only seven points in the quarter as North Marion drew to within 10 going into the final eight minutes, at 47-37.

A trey from North Marion’s Landon Frey brought the B-U lead down to six, at 50-44, with 5:55 remaining before Strader scored his six points in a row to put the game away.

“We had a good week of practice coming out of the Ram Classic and heading into this game,” stated Buckhannon-Upshur head coach Jason Westfall. “We were extremely efficient in the first half, but we lost our edge in the third quarter with some missed opportunities. Give North Marion credit in that third quarter, they made a few shots to tighten the game up. We still felt we were in control of the game and stayed poised.”

Trailing Strader and Zuliani in the scoring column for the Bucs was Jerin Westfall with 12 points while he also pulled down six rebounds.

Frey led the Huskies, who dropped to 3-3 overall, with a team-high 16 points.

The Bucs owned a huge rebounding margin against the Huskies by a 38-22 count.

B-U will be back in action Wednesday hosting Grafton at 7:30 p.m.

The boxscore:

Buckhannon-Upshur 26  14  7  14 – 61

North Marion 10  7  20  15 – 52

Buckhannon-Upshur 61

Ian Strader 9-15 4-6 26; Carter Zuliani 7-14 1-2 15; Jerin Westfall 5-10 0-0 12; Jevon Westfall 1-1 1-1 3; Malaki Williams 1-3 0-0 2; Nathaniel Ringer 1-3 0-0 2; Jaden Westfall 0-0 1-2 1; Luke Yardley 0-0 0-0 0; Bryson Johnston 0-1 0-0 0; Landon Marple 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 24-49 7-11 61.

North Marion 52

Landon Frey 5-11 4-4 16; Landon Cowger 4-8 2-2 10; Caden Morris 4-12 1-2 10; Dylan Higgins 2-6 1-2 7; Quinton Harbert 2-4 0-0 5; Brock Martin 2-6 0-0 4; Grant Tennant 0-0 0-0 0; Taylor Hayes 0-0 0-0 0; Trevor Mullett 0-0 0-0 0; Brady Anderson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-48 8-10 52.

Three-point field goals – Buckhannon-Upshur: Strader 4-7; Jerin Westfall 2-7; Marple 0-2 Totals 6-16; North Marion: Higgins 2-4; Frey 2-6; Harbert 1-3; Morris 1-5; Martin 0-2. Totals 6-20.

Rebounds – Buckhannon-Upshur: Zuliani 10; team 7; Jerin Westfall 6; Strader 5; Jaden Westfall 2; Jevon Westfall 2; Williams 2; Johnston 1; Marple 1; Yardley 1; deadball 1. Totals 38; North Marion: Frey 5; Morris 5; Cowger 4; team 4; Anderson 1; Martin 1; Mullett 1; Tennant 1. Totals 22.

Assists – Buckhannon-Upshur: Jaden Westfall 6; Strader 3; Zuliani 2; Ringer 1; Jerin Westfall 1. Totals 13; North Marion: Frey 5; Higgins 4; Martin 3; Tennant 2; Frey 1; Harbert 1. Totals 11.

Steals – Buckhannon-Upshur: Jerin Westfall 2; Zuliani 2; Marple 1; Strader 1; Jaden Westfall 1; Jevon Westfall 1. Totals 8; North Marion: Higgins 2; Martin 2; Morris 2; Frey 1; Harbert 1. Totals 8.

Blocked shots – Buckhannon-Upshur: Jerin Westfall 1; Zuliani 1. Totals 2; North Marion: Martin 1. Totals 1.

Turnovers – Buckhannon-Upshur: 15; North Marion: 10.

Fouls – Buckhannon-Upshur: 11; North Marion: 15.

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