PRUNTYTOWN— The Taylor County Middle School (TCMS) Varsity Knights found themselves in a tough home matchup against Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School (BU) on Thursday evening.
The physical defense of both teams held the game scoreless until the 3:46 mark of the first period, when a BU player connected from behind the arch, putting the first numbers on the board.
BU continued to sink midrange jumpers, as the Knights struggled to get on the board, but that struggle came to an end when Knight McCray Blackwell connected on a layup attempt with 1:46 left to play in the first period.
However, that would be the only bucket for the Knights during the first six minutes of action, bringing the score to 11-2.
The second period saw much of the same, as the team continued to be off the mark.
With time running down in the first-half, the Knights battled to stage a comeback, with Blackwell sinking another layup, and with just seconds to spare before the buzzer, teammate MJ Niggemyer found the bottom of the net with a jumper, sending the Knights into the break down by nine, with a score of 15-6.
Despite gaining momentum at the end of the first-half and making a second-half run, the Knights fell short and would drop the contest 23-17.
The team’s 17 points came from just three Knights with Blackwell leading the team’s scoring efforts recording eight points, while Niggemyer followed closely with seven of his own, and Ethan Dotson added a bucket.
“We are starting to get better at some aspects of the game,” noted head coach Mike Moats. “We need to learn how to take care of the basketball, and put the ball in the basket. The kids are giving 100 percent effort.”
The Junior Varsity (JV) team was also in action on Thursday night and came out strong, leading BU 9-0 by the end of the first period.
BU came out at the start of the second looking for redemption and found it early on, sinking a three-pointer, bringing them within six.
The JV Knights wore down the BU defense with their precise ball movement and were able to do work in the paint, drawing fouls and finding themselves in the bonus with 3:25 left to play before halftime.
Just before the buzzer sounded, BU was able to connect on another three-point attempt, sending them into the locker room with just a three-point deficit, as the score sat at 14-11.
Both teams struggled to sink shots early in the third, but BU was able to sink a jumper with 2:50 left on the scoreboard, taking their first and what would be their only lead of the night.
The Knights were quick to answer with a fast break bucket by Troy Weber, putting TCMS back on top, and from there, they never looked back.
The Knights continued driving into the paint, and had a comfortable ten-point lead with less than three minutes left on the clock.
The defensive full-court pressure from TCMS held BU scoreless for the first 4:30 of fourth period action, when the Bucs finally connected with what would be their last bucket of the game.
The Knights walked away victorious with a final of 33-17. Troy Weber led the JV Knights with 13 points, three offensive rebounds and five defensive rebounds.
Jonathan Maier, Owen Nestor, Grayson Ramezan, Tyler Clemm, Luke Gallo, Dominic Bolyard, Jayson Peters, Dylan Andrews and Daniel Jarman were also in the scoring column for the Knights.
“The first half we let them walk their dogs all around the park. I have nothing against dogs, just asked the boys to shut down their dog walking party,” head coach Steve Louzy expressed. “I couldn’t be more proud of the entire team finally starting to control the flow of the game, take care of the ball and complete our game plan.”
The Knights will be back in action on Saturday, Mach 13, as the travel to Preston County. JV play is slated for 11:45 a.m., with Varsity following at 1:00 p.m.