SUWANEE — Buford is still short-handed because of football, but the Wolves already have a signature victory in basketball.
D’Marcus Simonds and Rakim Lubin combined for 54 points as Buford, which reached the Class AAA semifinals last season, defeated Class AAAAAA contender Peachtree Ridge 77-70 on Monday night in the Jared Cook Tip-Off Classic at North Gwinnett.
Simonds, a 6-foot-4 sophomore, had 30 points and eight rebounds, while Lubin, a 6-foot-8 senior transfer who is headed to Connecticut, finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds as he went 14-for-20 from the foul line.
Simonds punctuated the victory with a resounding dunk at the buzzer as Buford finished the game on a 13-5 run. Peachtree Ridge led 65-64 after a basket by Amir Warnock with just under three minutes left.
Sophomore point guard Aaron Augustin led Peachtree Ridge with 25 points and six assists, going 4-for-7 from behind the 3-point arc. The Lions were 12-for-23 on 3-pointers in the game, but it wasn’t quite enough.
“We’ve got to defend better, we’re not used to giving up that many points,” Peachtree Ridge coach Keith Arrington said. “But we’re young and we’ll get better.”
The Lions’ football season ended over the weekend, but Arrington is still without returning starter Brandon Johnson and expected freshman contributor DeAngelo Gibbs.
Buford, of course, has even more absences and that showed in a 73-49 loss to five-time defending Class AAAAA state champion Miller Grove on Saturday.
“This was a good win for us, but I really don’t have a feel yet how this team will be,” Buford coach Allen Whitehart said. “I'm afraid that we’ll sometimes play like this and sometimes play like we did in the first game.”
Buford tried just eight 3-pointers, but made four. Matt McMorris had 14 points for the Wolves and Taylor Mills was 3-for-5 from behind the arc for his nine points as just four players scored for the winners.
The game was ultra tight until the final two minutes, with Peachtree Ridge leading 33-31 at halftime and 51-50 going into the final quarter.
The Lions were 7-for-12 on 3-pointers in the first half, with Darryl Greer making all three of his attempts and Augustin going 3-for-5.
Greer finished 5-for-7 and had 18 points. Warnock finished with 10 rebounds, but just six points. Sophomore Romello White scored 10 and freshman Jay Estime had six on 2-for-3 shooting from behind the arc.
Next up for Peachtree Ridge, which reached the Elite Eight last season, is powerful Miller Grove on Tuesday in the final day of the Jared Cook Tip-Off Classic. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.