Buford certainly didn’t turn in a performance worthy of any instructional videos, but the Wolves were able to battle back and hang on late for a 35-34 victory over Carrollton in the GHSA Class AAAA girls basketball championship Thursday at the Macon Coliseum.
It’s the fourth title in 10 seasons at the helm of the Buford program for head coach Gene Durden.
“This is the way this season I think should end, because it was a typical game for the season that we’ve had,” Durden said. “It was ugly, we had to grind, but we found a way to win.”
Buford (30-3) struggled right out of the gate. Carrollton center Emily Waters dominated the first quarter with 10 points and four blocks as she staked the Trojans to an eight-point lead. Durden adjusted during the break, and the Wolves were able to hold her scoreless the rest of the contest.
“We did a great job on (Waters),” Durden said. “I think she had 10 in the first quarter or so and then it’s like she didn’t even score from there, so that was huge.”
Carrollton managed a 21-20 lead at the half, and the two teams battled back-and-forth in the third with the Trojans taking a 31-28 lead.
Neither team was able to score in the fourth until Buford’s Pamela Johnson knocked down a pair of free throws with 2:55 to play to draw the Wolves within a point.
Buford’s top player, N.C. State-bound Camille Anderson, scored 33 in the Wolves’ semifinal victory over St. Pius, but she entered this contest with a knee injury and was held scoreless in the first half. She stepped up down the stretch, however, with two crucial plays.
Anderson gave Buford a two-point lead on a 3-pointer before driving and drawing the defense just seconds later for an assist to Zikaya Wright and a four-point lead.
“(Anderson’s) probably playing at 60 percent and still was not going to be denied,” Durden said.
Buford missed a pair of 1-and-1 opportunities inside of the game’s final minute as Carrollton inched closer. The Trojans’ Erial Daniel almost completed the comeback after she was fouled on an offensive rebound with less than one second to play, giving her two free throws to tie or take the lead, but she was unable to deliver. Daniel missed the first, and after a Buford timeout, she missed the second off of the back iron to end the game.
CALHOUN COUNTY (BOYS) 84, GREENVILLE 82
In the Class A public school boys championship, Calhoun County outlasted Greenville in a game that was played at a frenetic pace and came down to the final buzzer.
DaJohn Williams’ runner in the lane with four seconds to play broke a deadlock and broke Greenville hearts as a desperation 3-pointer on the ensuing possession fell short at the buzzer.
Quenten Taylor and Sherrod Williams led Calhoun County with 20 points each. Jamal McKee had 29 for Greenville in the loss.
JONESBORO (BOYS) 55, CARROLLTON 50
Jonesboro wrapped up a 32-1 season with a win in the Class AAAA boys championship game.
James Walker scored 21 points for Jonesboro, while Tracy Hector Jr. added 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Montae Glenn had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Carrollton (29-3).