Late surge lifts Buford

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Jackets' rally nets road victory over No. 10 Devils

By Heath Joplin



GREAT FALLS – Buford capped a hoops sweep with a landmark victory on Thursday, Dec. 19.

The Jackets took two at Great Falls High School, highlighted by a 60-58 win in the boys game.

The Lady Jackets opened the twin bill with a 56-42 victory and then the BHS boys prevailed in the nightcap.

In the last four hardwood clashes between Great Falls and Buford, the boys games have been decided by six points or less.

The latest clash followed the same hardwood pattern.

Tenth-ranked Great Falls held its largest lead of the game, seven points, at 45-38, after three periods.

The Jackets, with a stellar finish, outscored the Red Devils, 22-13 to capture the comeback victory.

BHS, down 58-55, tied the game at 58-all as the Jackets’ Kholby Pate netted a clutch trey with 15 seconds to play.

Pate paced the Jackets with 18, 14 in the second half, including nine in the final quarter.

BHS, after Pate’s trey deadlocked the game, then delivered a defensive gem to give them a shot at the win.

The Jackets’ swarming defense produced a five-second violation to give the ball back to BHS with seven seconds to play.

Buford’s Tomas Hayden then drove the lane and netted a clutch jumper with two seconds to play for a 60-58 lead.

Great Falls had a shot at the win, with a long floor attempt hitting the rim and falling off at the end.

“This is a great road win for our team,” BHS coach Neil Couch said. “I’m very proud of the way we played, especially in the second half. We’ve had some intense practices and focused on end-of-game situations.

“Great Falls is a quality caliber team which is always consistently good.”

Great Falls led 15-12 after one period, but BHS came back to tie the game at 27-all at the half. The Red Devils used an 18-11 third-period surge to take a 45-38 edge with a period to play.

Buford aided its late run for the win, hitting 8 of 10 from the field in the final period. The Jackets were 23-34 from the field for the game and hit 11 of 15 free throws to key the Buford High win.

Corey Bracey hit 15 points and Garrett Crenshaw scored nine to back the Jackets. Hayden hit eight and D.J. Stratford scored six. Druw Rollings and Orantez Coleman each had two points.

Mardre Dean led GFHS with 16 points. Jamarcus Culp scored 15. O.B. Holmes had 10.

Buford opened play in the three-day Seahawk Holiday Classic, facing Cumberland County, Tenn., at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The Jackets also play today in Hilton Head in second round action and cap play Monday.

In the opener at GFHS, the BHS girls were just as impressive as they rolled to the 56-42 win over the Lady Red Devils.

Buford, 4-1, took control early as they broke to an 8-0 lead. BHS, up 11-5 after one period, used a 20-7 second-period charge to take a 31-12 lead at the half.

BHS owned a 43-25 lead after three periods and rolled to the win.

Great Falls, late in the game, sliced the gap to 10, but BHS stayed in control.

“Our girls continue to play well as a team,” BHS coach T.J. Armbrust said. “Our entire lineup continues to contribute.

“We still have areas to work on, but I’m pleased with the way they’re coming together as a team,” Armbrust said. “We have a good group and they’re playing together well.”

Jasona Ballard led BHS with 15 points, eight in the first half, in the win over the Lady Red Devils.

Ashley Roberts hit 12, eight in the first half.

Gabby Davis netted nine points and Hannah Robinson scored eight. Courtney Snipes scored five.

Tatyana Stewart and Autumn Rabon each tallied three points. Valerie Jones added one.

Brandi Price led 0-6 Great Falls with 15.

Morgan Lubojocky had 11 points for the Lady Red Devils.

The Buford girls are idle until Dec. 27 when the Lady Jackets open play in the annual Comporium Christmas Classic with a 3 p.m. clash with Parkwood High School of Union County, N.C., at Andrew Jackson High School.

Host Andrew Jackson will face North Central in the girls opening round at 6 p.m.

BHS coaches also announced the Jackets’ game with Parkwood High, which was reset for Jan. 8 at PHS, will not be reset and is canceled.

The game with Parkwood was originally set for Friday, Dec. 6 at Parkwood, but at the request of PHS officials, the game was moved to Dec. 18 due to the Rebels’ play in the N.C. prep football playoffs. The game was later moved to Jan. 8 at PHS, but has been canceled for this season.