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Lady Jackets hold off Rams

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Clutch play lifts Buford girls to 9-1

By Robert Howey

BUFORD – The Buford girls prevailed in a thriller to push their hoops mark to 9-1 with a last-second win over Chesterfield on Friday night at BHS.
The Lady Jackets’ 43-42 win gave Buford a split after the Jackets fell to the Rams in the nightcap.
The Lady Jackets, with their fourth straight win, used key defense and clutch free throws to take the one-point win.
Hannah Knight hit three of four free throws in a seven-second span to give the Lady Jackets a 43-39 lead with 12.6 seconds to play.
Chesterfield’s Krystan White then drained a trey to slice the BHS lead to 43-42 with 3.3 seconds to play.
Buford was able to get the ball inbounds and rolled off the clock for the win.
“At the end, our defensive pressure was crucial because we were able to forced key turnovers and get the ball back and get to the free-throw line,” BHS coach T.J. Armbrust said. “We knocked down those foul shots.”
Buford, with a Daphne Honeycutt trey just before the half, gave the Lady Jackets a 26-16 lead at the break.
Chesterfield, with an 11-4 third period surge, rallied to make it 30-27 heading into the final period.
The Lady Jackets built as much as a seven-point spread, 38-31, but Chesterfield wouldn’t go away.
The Lady Rams charged hard and took the lead on Sierra Hartwick’s bucket, 39-38. She scored 13, nine in the second half.
BHS’s Carley Bailey hit two free  throws with 1:23 left for a 40-39 lead and Knight followed with three of four at the stripe to give Buford a 43-39 edge.
Then White’s three chopped the BHS lead to one, but the Lady Jackets held on.
“When we had to have it, we made key baskets,” Armbrust said. “We’ve played Chesterfield three times and each time they have improved.
“This is a good experience in helping us win close games,” Armbrust said. “I’m proud of these girls. They practice hard and listen and it makes a difference. This win helps as we enter region play.”
Honeycutt, who led BHS with 16, hit 14 in the first half. Erica Blackmon netted 10, eight in the first half.
Knight netted eight. Bailey finished with five and Brittany Faulkner added four.
Chesterfield’s White, who scored seven in the final period, tallied 13 as did Hartwick.
In the boys’ game, Chesterfield snapped a 10-all first-half lead with a 24-9 surge to gain a 34-19 halftime lead on the way to a 63-45 win over the Jackets.
Buford fought back in the opening minutes of the third period to make it a 10-point game, but the Rams, making use of their press, were able to build a 52-26 lead in the second half to post the win.
“We’re a young team and this was another lesson for us,” BHS coach Neil Couch said. “We have to play hard for 32 minutes.
“Marcus Brown played his guts out,” said Couch of the Jackets’ senior who hit 26 points, with 18 coming in the second half. “Marcus has stepped up as much as this team has needed him to. Hopefully our younger players will see that effort and know you have to play hard all the way through.
“You can’t afford to give less than a top effort,” Couch said.
Chesterfield, which is now 4-10, was led by Markel Melton and David Grant who hit 18 points each.
Melton scored seven in the third period, while Grant generated nine in each half, with six in the third period.
Norez Byrd added 10 for the Rams.
Kholby Pate aided the Jackets with nine points. Corey Bracey hit six. O.T. Coleman and Silas Moore each supplied two points.
Buford opens region play Tuesday when it hosts Central of Pageland.

Contact sports editor Robert Howey at 283-1157