DULUTH — With legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summitt watching, her future recruits put on a show.
Kaela Davis had 25 points and 11 rebounds while Andraya Carter contributed 16 points, nine rebounds and her usual ferocious defense as Buford kept its unbeaten season going.
The two-time defending Class AA state champs pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 54-41 victory over Oak Ridge Military of Greensboro, N.C., on Tuesday night to reach the championship game in the Red Division of the JumpOffPlus.com Holiday Invitational.
Next up for Buford (7-0) is Riverdale (13-0) of Murfreesboro, Tenn, today at 4:30 p.m. Riverdale is the defending Class AAA champion from Tennessee.
“That’s what we wanted, to play the top three teams we could,” said Buford coach Gene Durden, whose team beat defending Kentucky state runner-up Scott County in the first round on Monday.
Carter, a junior, and Davis, a sophomore who transferred from Norcross, have both made verbal commitments to Tennessee, but will have to wait one and two years, respectively, before officially signing.
“Kaela really shot the ball well and Andraya played great defense,” Durden said. “I thought we played very well as a team. I was pleased.”
Davis scored 19 points in the first half, hitting her third 3-pointer from more than 25 feet out at the intermission buzzer. She had 10 points in the first quarter — hitting from behind the arc on her first shot — as the Wolves took a 19-13 lead. It was 33-27 at halftime.
Oak Ridge (7-4) slowed Buford down with a zone in the third quarter and cut the lead to 39-37. But Carter hit a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter, Davis followed with a basket and the Wolves kept pulling away. Oak Ridge, which plays a tough national schedule, had just four points in the final quarter.
Buford is ranked No. 6 by ESPN.com, No. 13 by MaxPreps.com and No. 17 by USAToday.
“We’ll have to be at our best against Riverdale,” Durden said. “They’re another very good team.”
Riverdale (Tenn.) 59, GAC 50
Shacobia Barbee had 24 points and Tyisha Petty scored 18 as unbeaten Riverdale defeated GAC 59-50 in the first Red Division semifinal.
GAC (7-3) lead 17-13 late in the first quarter, but was outscored 16-6 in the second and trailed 32-23 at halftime. The Spartans trailed 44-36 after three quarters before cutting the Riverdale lead to five points several times in the fourth.
GAC was down 55-50 after Shannon Cranshaw’s basket with 33 seconds remaining. But Alexa Middleton and Barbee both hit two foul shots in the closing seconds to wrap up the victory for the school from Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Kristina Nelson led GAC with 18 points. Cranshaw scored 11 and Sierra Lawrence had 10 for the Spartans, who defeated J.L. Mann of Greenville, S.C., in the first round. Riverdale’s first victory was against Campbell.
GAC will play Oak Ridge for third place in the Red Division at 1:30 p.m. today.