Posted: Saturday, March 7th 2009 at 9:20pm
Playoffs: Lady Wolves roll into Final Four
By Jeff Hart Staff
ROME – Buford played the role of the wicked stepmother to Rabun County’s Cinderella status to near-perfection Saturday night in its 70-38 win over Rabun County the quarterfinals of the Class AA girls state basketball playoffs at the Rome Forum.
The Lady Wolves controlled the game from the opening tip and never let Rabun get closer than seven points after beginning the game with a 14-0 run to advance to the Final Four in Macon next week. Buford (30-1) next will play Laney at 7 p.m. in the semifinals on Thursday.
Buford, which has been ranked No. 1 in Class AA most of the season, used strong starts to both halves to take control of the game. The Lady Wolves opened the second half with an 18-2 run to put the game away.
“We started fast and pounded the ball inside and that’s what we wanted to do,” Buford coach Gene Durden said. “I thought defensively we played really well. We know every game at this point is going to be tough and we felt we needed to get going early against Rabun.”
Rabun County (25-4) came into the game averaging nearly 62 points a game but was no match for Buford’s defense. The Lady Wolves forced 31 Rabun turnovers for the game and held the Lady Wildcats to just five third quarter points to blow the game open.
Rabun County coach Dee Dee Dillard said they knew it was going to be their toughest challenge of the year if they wanted to continue the best season in school history. The Lady Wildcats had never advanced to the Elite 8 and were looking for their first-ever Final Four appearance.
“(Buford) showed why they have been No. 1 all year,” Dillard said. “We knew going in it was going to be tough. We didn’t take care of the ball very well and missed some easy shots. But we are going to use this experience to help us continue to build the program. We are very pleased with our season even though we didn’t win this one.”
The Lady Wolves wasted little time in jumping on Rabun County scoring on their first six possessions while forcing Rabun into five turnovers in its first six possessions in running out to a 14-0 lead four minutes into the game.
The Lady Wildcats finally got going when Brianna Beck drained a 3-pointer to spark a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 14-7 with 2:12 left in the first quarter. But Buford closed out the quarter with a 7-3 run and then blew the game open in the second quarter with a 16-5 run for a 37-19 lead. The Lady Wolves would lead 41-23 at the half.
Buford put the game away holding Rabun to just one field goal the first six minutes of the third quarter while building a 59-25 lead. The Lady Wolves would lead by as many as 35 points in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Wolves had 13 different players score in the game, led by Blanche Alverson with 17 points. Jocelyn Danley had nine points and Abby Johnson and Michelle Godwin each had eight points for the Lady Wolves. Andraya carter had six points, six assists, and five steals for Buford.
Rabun County was paced by O'Neil York with eight points. Brianna Beck and Logan Turner had seven points each for the Lady Wildcats.
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