DECATUR -- In what was a close quarterfinal game through much of the first half, Buford's boys buckled down on defense in the second half to clinch a spot in the state tournament with a 63-42 win over Maynard Jackson in the Region 6-AA Tournament.
The Wolves (20-6) looked to be faltering in the second quarter as they couldn't buy a bucket through much of the quarter. Then, a 3-pointer by Alton Grose at the buzzer gave the Wolves the momentum and a 23-18 lead heading into halftime.
"That was the play of the game," said Buford head coach Allen Whitehart. "I looked over (at the other team) and their heads dropped after that shot."
From there, it was all Buford as the Wolves' defense collapsed on the ball, making it hard for the Jaguars' leading scorer, Coris Williams, to get a shot off, as he forced up a dozen shots surrounded by Buford defenders.
"Our defense locked in and we got what we wanted," Whitehart said.
In the third quarter, Isaiah Williams took most of the scoring load, scoring 10 of his 13 points in the quarter to push Buford's lead to 41-29.
By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, Buford's ball movement was crisp and the open man was found when needed as Davis and TJ Shipes took over the game, combining for 39 total points in the game.
"This is honestly the most nerve-racking game for me," Whitehart said. "I've been in two state championship games and those don't compare to the game that gets you to the state tournament. The lower seeded team has nothing to lose. There's top seeds that get upset in region tournament quarterfinals, so there's a lot of pressure there."
Buford started the game on an 8-0 run with more ball movement through the first quarter, taking a 16-7 lead at the end of the quarter.
However, the second quarter was a different story as the Jaguars spread the floor and forced the Wolves to play their game. And, it worked as the Jaguars tied the game at 18 when Sirvaughn Hobdy knocked down a 3-pointer.
But a leaner by A.J. Davis broke the drought and Grose's 3-pointer gave the momentum back to the Wolves.
Davis finished with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Shipes had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
For the Jaguars, Williams finished with 20 points and 17 rebounds.