NORCROSS -- When Buford drew Alpharetta rather than McEachern in the Peach State Hoops Battle of Southeast, it looked like the Wolves had drawn a big break.
Turns out that Alpharetta is a very formidable Class AAAAA team as well.
The Raiders, ranked No. 8, don't have a national ranking like McEachern, No. 1 in AAAAA and No. 4 in the ESPN Fab 50 national poll. But that doesn't mean that they don't have plenty of talent.
"On our best days, I think we can play with anyone," coach Angela Anderson-Hunt said.
Alpharetta (12-3) proved that Saturday at Wesleyan's Yancey Gymnasium, rolling to a 60-42 victory over three-time defending Class AA Buford 60-42 despite 27 points by the Wolves' Kaela Davis.
Kylee Smith led the Raiders with 25 points and also had seven rebounds and four assists. Alexis Alexander scored 18 and added 10 rebounds as Alpharetta out-scrapped Buford on the boards.
"Rebounding is something we have been focusing on," Angela Anderson-Hunt said.
His team already down by 11 points, Buford coach Gene Durden called a timeout early in the second quarter and loudly lit into him the Wolves about their lack of rebounding effort.
The wakeup call wasn't received, though.
Ahead 24-17 at halftime, Alpharetta increased its lead to 39-27 at the end of the third quarter and led by as many as 22 points late in the game.
Buford (11-6) was coming off an emotional victory over Region 6-AA rival Greater Atlanta Christian and never seemed to be able to regain its intensity or focus.
The Wolves were nearly doubled on the boards and managed little offensively when the ball wasn't in Davis' hands. She and Kristina Nelson (eight points and eight rebounds) were the only Buford players with more than three points.
Still playing without Tennessee recruit Andraya Carter, the Wolves -- ranked No. 3 in Class AA -- looked little like a team that should be No. 39 in the ESPN Fab 50 national poll. Alpharetta, meanwhile, appeared to be peaking with about a month to go before the state tournament.
Alpharetta went on a 9-0 run in the first quarter and only Davis' 12 first-half points kept Buford within seven points at intermission.
Alpharetta's only losses are to unbeaten Parkview, ranked No. 3 in Class AAAAA, Class AAAA No. 6 Fayette County and nationally ranked Alabama power Hoover.
"Playing a team like Hoover got us ready for Buford," Angela Anderson-Hunt said. "It really helped prepare us and I think that we have made a lot of progress."