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Jackets hope to build on win

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By Robert Howey

The Buford High School boys basketball team was looking for a complete effort and the Jackets delivered Tuesday night.

BHS knocked off two-time defending Class AA boys state champion Lee Central 51-47 on the Stallions' home floor.

"We just played together the whole game," BHS assistant coach Neil Couch said. "We had a steady effort. Lee Central made some runs, but we didn't get rattled."

Couch wasn't surprised.

"In talking with coach (Jeff) Moyer, we felt we were coming off our best two practices of the season, so we felt the effort would be there," Couch said. "Our guys wanted to win. The aggression, heart, hustle and effort were there.

"We left it on the court, but that's what we had to do," Couch said. "Our players on the floor responded and our guys off the bench gave good effort, especially just giving the other guys a break."

"We had a positive attitude," BHS coach Jeff Moyer said. "We played our best game and carried it all the way through."

LC coach Laverne Knox took notice.

"It was a challenge and Buford answered it well," Knox said. "They did a good job of what they were doing."

The Jackets' defense held the Stallions' top scorer Willie Rogers to two points, 10 points below his average. Rogers was coming off a 26-point effort at Andrew Jackson.

Moyer also noted the Jackets did a solid job on the boards.

"We boxed out well and we limited them to one shot," he said. "When you do that, it helps your chances at a win."

The loss dropped the Stallions to 10-10, 3-1. LC lost its first league home game dating back to last season. The Stallions have played for the state title the last four seasons.

"Our effort was there from start to finish," Couch said. "We were up by three (26-23) at the half and held a four-point lead after three quarters. In some of our games, we've had a letdown in the third period, but we didn't this time."

Late in the game, a key defensive play aided the Jackets.

With BHS up by one, LC came down with a shot to take the lead, but the Jackets' Blake Larrimore took a charge to get the ball back.

"They were shooting a free throw and we put Blake back on defense," Couch said. "When they drove the baseline, Blake stepped up, got good position and drew a charge. With the ball back, we were able to take some time off the clock."

"Plays like that helped us get the win," Moyer said.

The Jackets, 7-12, 1-3, used a balanced attack to anchor their road victory.

Five players each scored five points or more in the win.

Qua Reid hit 14 points and grabbed six rebounds. Larrimore had 12 points and five boards, while Jabari Williams added 11 points and eight rebounds.

JoJo Morris scored seven. Michael Childers hit five and Andrew Riner had two points.

Derrell Jenkins was the lone Stallions' player in double figures, hitting 12 points.

BHS also prevailed at the foul line, netting 16-24 to Lee Central's 7-14.

Couch said he hopes the Jackets can build off their effort.

BHS opens the second round of Conference VIII-AA play tonight, hosting Cheraw.

"I hope we jump-started something special," Couch said. "This should give us some momentum and I hope our fans respond to it."

"We've got to take that effort and do it each time we play," Moyer said.