0

Buford's D shuts down GAC

Photo by BRANDON BRIGMAN

Photo by BRANDON BRIGMAN

BUFORD — The Buford Wolves outscored state-ranked Madison County 9-0 in the first quarter Tuesday, and pulled off a similarly unique feat in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 58-42 win against visiting Greater Atlanta Christian.

The Wolves outscored the Spartans 17-10 in the fourth quarter, but importantly, held GAC to no field goals in that period. The Spartans’ only scoring in the final eight minutes was 10-of-14 foul shooting.

“Part of that was fatigue, but give Buford credit, they wear you down,” GAC coach Cal Boyd said. “That’s part of their strategy.”

Wolves coach Gene Durden confirmed that was the plan, as the Wolves used their relentless defense to turn their 24-23 halftime advantage into their third straight win since losing to Tennessee’s highly regarded Riverdale. Kaela Davis led the way with 28 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and Andraya Carter chipped in 15 points.

The No. 8-ranked Spartans (8-5), who beat Buford in two of three games last year, including the Region 6-AA tournament final at home, stuck with the No. 2 Wolves (10-1) early. They led 11-6 on Kristina Nelson’s shot down low with 2:28 left in the first quarter, then 25-25 on Nelson’s basket to begin the third. But Buford used a 7-0 run to go up 41-32 after three quarters, then outscored GAC by seven in the fourth to keep its distance.

Nelson was GAC’s only double-figure scorer with 14 points, while Chandler Alverson added nine and Shannon Cranshaw and Sydney Means netted five each.

Durden said his players knew if they could hold GAC with defensive pressure, their own scoring runs would come.

“It’s a mental thing, too,” Durden said. “You have to face our pressure all game, and eventually it gets to you.”

Davis said the Wolves always enjoy playing GAC and that “everyone was really relaxed and played as a team.”

Carter attributed much to Buford’s intense practices, which she said prepare the Wolves for their game intensity.

“We grind the whole game,” she said. “It’s all that pressure and speed we play with. A lot of teams aren’t used to it.”

In boys action, GAC outscored Buford 10-4 in overtime and won 60-54. Malcolm Brogdon led the Spartans (9-2) to a fourth straight win with 30 points, while Paul Dawson and Collin Swinton chipped in 13 and 10 apiece. Brogdon scored a basket and two free throws in overtime, while Dawson shot 3-of-4 from the foul line, and A.J. Davis and Cole Hobbs bucketed two and one foul shot, respectively.

Buford ( 8-3) was led by Ty Shipes’ 19 points and Zac Lynn’s 17.

“In the last 2⁄12 minutes our defense really stepped up,” Spartans coach Eddie Martin said. “We got some key stops when we needed them.

“It was a good finish on a night we didn’t have our ‘A’ game.”