NORCROSS — The Buford boys almost pulled off an upset in their first meeting with Greater Atlanta Christian, losing at home in overtime on Jan. 8.
A month later, the Wolves were disappointed once again.
Defending Class AA state champion GAC pulled out a 70-67 victory at the Long Forum on Tuesday night as Malcolm Brogdon once more led the way with 30 points.
“When you’ve got a racehorse, you ride him,” GAC coach Eddie Martin said.
Brogdon had nine of the No. 4-ranked Spartans’ last 15 points, although his miss on the front end of a 1-and-1 with 3.8 second left gave No. 8-ranked Buford a chance to force another overtime game.
The buzzer sounded, though, just before Zac Lynn could get off a 3-point attempted, which missed anyway.
“We’re gaining,” Buford coach Allen Whitehart said of his team’s progress this season. “We’re playing good basketball. A couple of things didn’t go our way. But the kids are starting to understand what it will take to win when it counts.”
The Region 6-AA tournament is next week at Maynard Jackson in Atlanta and GAC (19-5, 9-0) wrapped up the No. 1 seed from its division. Buford (16-6, 5-3) is in second place with two games remaining in the regular season.
“Buford has a good team,” Martin said. “They should have beat us up there, but they missed a few free throws and the game went to overtime.”
The Wolves had four players score in double figures this time, with Lynn getting 16.
Alex Flagler and Kyle Kellam each had 14 point sand Nick Marshall scored 10.
A.J. Davis backed Brogdon with 15 points for GAC, which won the earlier overtime game 60-54 at Buford.
GAC’s only loss to a Georgia team was to defending Class AAAAA state champion Milton. But Buford has given the Spartans two scares.
After GAC’s Cole Hobbs hit a 3-pointer to start the game, the Wolves scored nine straight points and led 18-14 after the first quarter. With Brogdon scoring 17 points, GAC led 32-29 at halftime
Buford hung tough, though, and went up 51-50 on Marshall’s 3-point play to start the fourth quarter. It was 57-55 after a basket by Shipes before GAC ran off seven straight points to go up by five.
Again Buford wouldn’t quit, with Lynn making two free throws to cut the GAC lead to 66-64 with 1:51 left. But Paul Dawson and Brogdon each cashed two free tosses on 1-and-1 opportunities and GAC held on despite a 3-pointer by Lynn with 5.5 seconds remaining.
“It was good to have a game like this before the region tournament,” Martin said. “We got tested. That’s what you want this time of year.”