Simonds leads Buford boys to region basketball crown

BUFORD — Allen Whitehart wasn’t sure if his basketball team would get to experience another championship game this season, so he treated them to a nice dinner on Tuesday.

The Buford boys basketball coach took his team to Outback, racking up a nice dinner bill.

“It cost too much,” Whitehart said with a smile.

Buford paid Whitehart back on the court during the Region 7-AAA championship. The Wolves rolled to a 56-29 win over Dawson County to defend their region title.

“It never gets old winning a title,” Whitehart said.

Buford will host North Murray on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the first round of the state playoffs.

The Wolves have won 17 games in a row and erased the memory of Monday’s semifinal game against White County.

“We looked at film from last night and we were miserable,” Whitehart said. “We looked like we hadn’t played in a month.”

It was different story on Tuesday. D’Marcus Simonds scored 20 points and Rakim Lubin added 15 in the blowout victory.

“They are our leaders,” Whitehart said. “They are the ones that are going to carry our team and they did that in the first half. They are what makes us go.

Buford won just 57-55 over Dawson County two weeks ago, but never trailed in Monday’s game. Simonds hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter to take a 17-7 lead.

Buford started to pull away in the second quarter when Simonds hit another 3-pointer and led 26-14 at halftime.

“We just got dialed in and in our defensive sets,” Whitehart said. “When we are disciplined we are OK.”

Simonds added another seven points in the third quarter, while Lubin scored five of his points in the fourth period.

Lubin and Matt McMorris were named to the all region team, while Simonds was named the region player of the year.

“He’s played well all year,” Whitehart said.