Buford boys hit twice with loss to North Hall

BUFORD -- Not only did Buford suffer its first Region 7-AAA loss on Friday night, but the Wolves also lost the coin toss to decide the top seed in next week's boys region tournament.

It all started when North Hall came into Buford and knocked off the Wolves 68-63 to create a tie atop the 7-AAA standings.

North Hall finishes with a 13-1 region mark while Buford is 12-1 with a game today at home with Fannin County.

Following the game, both coaches were present for a coin flip and North Hall earned the region's top seed by winning the toss.

Buford will still host a first-round game next Tuesday, but the semifinals and finals will take place at North Hall later in the week.

Buford (18-6, 12-1) had its chances coming down the stretch in the fourth quarter, but the Wolves simply couldn't overcome a rocky third quarter and North Hall's clutch performance at the free throw line in the second half.

For the game, North Hall hit on 28 of 34 from the free throw line -- including 27 of 32 in the second half alone.

That was too much for Buford to overcome as the Wolves lost for the first time since Dec. 28.

"It seemed like every time we turned around, (North Hall) was at the free throw line," said Buford head coach Allen Whitehart. "But they played well tonight. They packed it in on us and cut off our lanes. And maybe it was a wakeup call for us. We hadn't lost in a while -- 14 in a row. It would have been great to be the No. 1 seed in the (region) tournament, but at the end of the day you still have to win games."

Buford led 13-11 after the first quarter and 22-20 at the half.

But North Hall outscored Buford 26-12 in the third quarter and the Wolves could never recover.

Buford did climb to within four at 54-50 late in the fourth quarter, but North Hall continued its good work at the free throw line and the Wolves could only get as close as five as the game ended.

Ethan Smith led North Hall (23-2, 13-1) with 21 points, including 8 of 8 at the free throw line.

Griffin Olson added 15 points, including 7 of 7 at the charity stripe, while Adam Kelly had 13 points and was 7 of 9 at the line.

Isaiah Williams led the Buford attack with a game-high 25 points and Kyle Doyle had 12 for the Wolves.

A.J. Davis was held to 11 points and Justice Bartley had 10 for Buford.

Buford girls 73, North Hall 40

North Hall actually led 3-2 in the opening minutes of this Region 7-AAA girls' basketball game, but Buford ripped off the next 16 points and eventually ran away to a 73-40 win over North Hall.

Defense made the difference as Buford (18-4, 13-0) forced 28 North Hall turnovers in the game as the Wolves used their tall front court to build the big margin.

Buford, which is now without Georgia Tech signee Kaela Davis, led 20-9 lead after the first quarter, expanded it to 45-18 at the half and then led by 40 at 69-29 to close out the third quarter.

Mackenzie Darrah and Bree Horrocks each had 16 points for Buford (18-4, 13-0) as the Wolves won for the 12th time in their last 13 games.

Kristina Nelson added 12 points and five rebounds while Maya Dillard had a double-double with 11 points and 11 assists for Buford.

Corey Staples added eight points for Buford.

Jordan Nix led the way for North Hall (14-11, 7-7) with 14 points, including four three-pointers.