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Buford relies on defense to advance to Elite Eight

MACON - After a lengthy trip in Round 1 of the state basketball playoffs, the Buford girls hit the road again in Round 2.

Thanks to some tight defense and timely shooting, the Wolves won their second round match up against Rutland 42-35 on Wednesday in Macon.

Forward Blanche Alverson put in a strong effort, leading the way with 15 points and 13 rebounds, a performance that pleased Buford head coach Gene Durden.

"I thought she shot the ball exceptionally well," Durden said. "Blanche is so versatile she does so many things well for us."

After scoring just seven points in the first quarter, Buford created a cushion going into halftime thanks to a pair of Alverson three-pointers that gave the Wolves a five-point advantage at the half.

With Rutland eager to make a comeback, timely buckets by guard Michelle Godwin and Alverson helped Buford extend its lead despite Rutland's full-court press.

"They run a 1-2-2 zone press, we worked on spacing and attacking the gaps," Durden said. "The pressure didn't hurt us."

Buford entered the final quarter with a 13-point lead and refused to cave in despite increased pressure from a desperate and aggressive Rutland team which began to trap Godwin when she touched the ball.

Rutland was able to cut the lead to seven at 38-31, but solid defense and a great rebounding advantage (28-9) helped Buford seal the victory and advance to the third round of the state playoffs where it will face off against region rival and No. 1 Wesleyan.

"We got Wesleyan again," Durden said. "We know them as good as anybody so to go to the final four you have to go through good teams. We are looking forward to playing them and hope we can bring a good effort."