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Basketball preview: Buford Wolves

Buford's MacKenzie Darrah (14)

Buford's MacKenzie Darrah (14)

BUFORD WOLVES

BOYS

Region: 6-AA

Coach: Allen Whitehart

2010-11 record: 24-9

Returning regulars:

T.J. Shipes, Sr., 6-8

Kyle Kellam, Sr., 6-1

Others to watch:

A.J. Davis, Jr., 6-8

Alton Grose, Sr., 6-0

Payton Wehunt, Sr.,6-0

Brad Mapes, Jr., 6-5

Isaiah Williams, Jr., 6-1

Justice Bartley, Soph., 6-5

Outlook: The Wolves were a state tournament surprise a year ago, pulling of upsets in close games against Kendrick, South Atlanta and Laney to reach the state championship game before falling to region-rival Greater Atlanta Christian for the third time. Leading scorer and rebounder T.J. Shipes is one of two returning starters and the Wolves received a big boost when A.J. Davis transferred from GAC to Buford. Shipes, who is headed to Georgia State, averaged 14.6 points and 8.6 rebounds last season. Davis, also 6 foot 8, contributed 12.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for GAC as a sophomore. The twin brother of Buford girls standout Kaela Davis had three double-doubles in the state tournament. The Wolves also added transfers Isaiah Williams (St. Francis) and Justice Bartley (Lanier).

Worth noting: Buford increased its win total by 15 games last season in Allen Whitehart's first year as coach. He was 97-25 previously in four seasons at Centennial, taking the Knights to the Class AAAAA title game in 2007, when they lost by a point to Norcross.

Roster

No. Name Ht. Class

1 Isaiah Williams 6-1 Jr.

2 Bobby Dando 6-0 Jr.

3 A.J. Davis 6-8 Jr.

4 Justice Bartley 6-5 Soph.

5 Alton Grose 6-0 Sr.

10 Joey Dando 5-10 Sr.

11 Bryson Jordan 6-1 Jr.

12 Kyle Kellam 6-1 Sr.

13 Colby Durden 6-4 Jr.

15 T.J. Shipes 6-8 Sr.

20 Payton Wehunt 6-0 Sr.

21 Trevor Shipes 6-6 Soph.

22 Brad Mapes 6-5 Jr.

23 Xavier Cunningham 6-1 Sr.

24 Chris Pass 6-2 Jr.

GIRLS

Region: 6-AA

Coach: Gene Durden

2010-11 record: 29-3

Returning regulars:

Andraya Carter, Sr., 5-8

Kaela Davis, Jr., 6-2

Maya Dillard, Jr. 5-5

Others to watch:

Kristina Nelson, Jr., 6-4

MacKenzie Darrah, Jr., 6-3

Kallie Case, Sr., 5-5

Emily Adams, Sr., 6-4

Outlook: Tennessee recruit Andraya Carter will miss the start of the season after ACL surgery in June, but Buford remains a heavy favorite to win its fourth straight state title. Kaela Davis, who has also committed to Tennessee, is one of the top juniors in the nation and the Wolves have added junior transfer Kristina Nelson from Greater Atlanta Christian to give them even more size. Carter, Davis and Nelson were all first-team all-county picks by the Gwinnett Daily Post last season. Carter averaged 14.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.8 steals and 2.1 assists while playing shutdown defense for the Wolves a year ago, and Davis contributed 18.2 points and 5.5 rebounds. Nelson averaged 15.5 points and 6.8 rebounds for GAC, which lost to Buford in the state championship game.

Worth noting: In addition to Carter and Davis, Buford returns starting point guard Maya Dillard and top reserve MacKenzie Darrah, who had a big offensive outburst in the title game. Darrah is 6 foot 3 and Nelson 6 foot 4. The Wolves also have 6-foot-4 Emily Adams and 6-foot-5 Bree Horrocks, giving coach Gene Durden's team unmatched height.

Roster

No. Name Ht. Class

1 Maya Dillard 5-5 Jr.

2 Kallie Case 5-6 Sr.

3 Kaela Davis 6-2 Jr.

4 Andraya Carter 5-8 Sr.

11 Hannah Manley 5-9 Jr.

14 MacKenzie Darrah 6-3 Jr.

15 Kristin Bradshaw 5-9 Jr.

22 Bree Horrocks 6-5 Soph.

24 JaQwannia Brown 5-8 Sr.

50 Emily Adams 6-4 Sr.

52 Kristina Nelson 6-4 Jr.

SCHEDULE

Nov. 19 Parkview at River Ridge (boys)

Nov. 25-26 at Charlotte tourney (boys)

Nov. 29 Milton

Dec. 3 N. Gwinnett at KSU (boys)

Dec. 6 S. Atlanta

Dec. 10 at Therrell

Dec. 12 at Clarkston

Dec. 19-22 Nike T of C in Arizona (girls)

Dec. 27-30 Converse tourney at Columbia, S.C. (boys)

Dec. 27-29 Peach State tourney at Holy Innocents' (girls)

Jan. 6 at Decatur

Jan. 10 at Cross Keys

Jan. 13 at GAC

Jan. 14 Whitefield at McEachern (boys); McEachern at Wesleyan (girls)

Jan. 20 Westminster

Jan. 21 Lovett

Jan. 24 at Blessed Trinity

Jan. 27 Clarkston

Jan. 28 Wesleyan

Jan. 31 Decatur

Feb. 3 Cross Keys

Feb. 4 at Maynard Jackson

Feb. 7 GAC