BUFORD — A high school basketball season that started with a major obstacle added a meaningful title Saturday night for the Buford girls.
The unbeaten Wolves, who missed a month of the season as players and coaches fought COVID-19, claimed the Region 8-AAAAAA Tournament at Buford City Arena with a 62-31 win over Habersham Central. Victories and championships are nothing new to them — they have won four straight state titles — but the most recent was special in a season of uncertainty, quarantine and other trials.
“Especially with the COVID situation, this year to come in and be region champions, I’m just so proud of them because they had to overcome a lot of obstacles,” Buford girls coach Gene Durden said. “We had a big situation with the COVID that we had to battle through. A lot of uncertainties. Any time you win a championship it’s special and this is another one that’s special.”
It also capped a 24-0 season, the first perfect run through a regular season and tournament for Durden, who has more than 800 career wins.
“We’ve never had an undefeated season and it’s never been one of my goals,” Durden said. “But it’s special to do that with this group because of everything that happened.”
Buford scored the game’s first nine points and led Habersham (18-5) by a 17-3 margin late in the first quarter. The lead was 16 at halftime before the Wolves blew it open by outscoring their opponent 16-4 in the third quarter.
Ava Grace Watson scored 19 to lead the Wolves, and Ashyia Willis had 11 points and seven assists. Sara Viti (eight points, five rebounds) and Tatum Ozment (nine rebounds) also played well.
Dacula girls 66, Lanier 51
Lazaria Spearman and Mekera Standridge combined for 53 points as Dacula claimed third place in the region with a 66-51 win over the Lanier girls on Saturday.
Spearman scored 31 and Standridge was close behind with 21 points. Danyelle Palmore added seven points