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For The Lancaster News
BUFORD – Andrew Jackson’s Avalon Truesdale was tough in the clutch for the Volunteers as visiting AJ swept a Region IV-AA basketball twin bill from host Buford on Friday night.
Truesdale, 7 of 8 at the stripe in the final period, connected on five of six foul shots in the final 50.6 seconds to lift AJ to a 45-41 win over the scrappy Jackets.
The Vols’ four-point comeback win gave AJ a sweep, with the Lady Vols posting a 59-44 victory in the varsity opener.
The boys’ game was tighter and not decided until the steady Truesdale connected at the stripe in the late stages to seal the Vols’ league win.
Truesdale hit 21 points, 13 in the second half, to spark the AJ win.
Truesdale, who netted 11 points in the final period, pulled AJ into a tie with a layup with 1:50 to play.
Nearly a minute later, Truesdale put AJ ahead to stay, 42-41 with a pair of foul shots.
He added three more at the line over the final 50 seconds to net the win.
“This is a big team win and I’m proud and pleased with the way we turned up the defensive intensity tonight,” AJ’s Danny Wright said. “This win was about teamwork and hustle.”
The Vols, 7-9, 2-4, took a 10-8 lead after a period of play, but Buford, with a 11-0 second-period surge, held a 19-10 halftime edge.
Buford owned a 32-24 lead after the third period.
The Jackets had used a 15-0 run to take a 23-10 edge before AJ’s Chris White, who scored 11 second-half points, hit a trey to make it 23-13.
The Jackets held the lead to the final period when AJ outscored BHS 21-9 to claim the win.
“Andrew Jackson made the plays and we didn’t,” BHS coach Neil Couch said. “I hate we didn’t win because our players played hard and our fans gave us great support. I love this team because they play hard against all odds.”
AJ guard Dustin Eddins also aided the Vols’ fourth-quarter surge with seven points, including two treys.
Quadarius Fair, Bobby Delly and Wade Eubanks each had two points.
Buford was led by senior Marcus Brown’s 15 points, eight in the second half. Brown fouled out with 50 seconds to play when AJ took the lead for good on Truesdale’s two free throws.
Evan Joplin had a solid game for BHS with eight points, including 6-6 at the line. Kholby Pate produced seven. Corey Bracey and Silas Moore each hit five points. O.T. Coleman added one.
In the girls’ game, AJ compeleted a regular-season sweep of the rival Lady Jackets with its 15-point win.
AJ took the early lead, holding an 18-13 edge after one.
The Lady Vols stretched their lead to 35-26 at the half and pushed it to 48-34 after three.
AJ coach Dennis Farmer lauded the Lady Vols’ defensive effort.
The Lady Vols went to a box-in-one defense to hold Buford ace Carley Bailey to 12 points, none in the second half.
“We had a good defensive effort,” Farmer said. “On offense, we moved the ball well and found the open teammate.”
Bre Wright powered the Lady Vols with 25, 13 after the break. Elizabeth Scott had a strong first half, scoring nine of her 12 points in the first two periods.
McKenzie Horton hit 10, six in the first half. Anslee McDow had eight points.
Halle Thompson and Summer Vick added two points each for the Lady Vols, 11-7, 4-2.
Buford was led by Eric Blackmon’s 17 points, 10 coming after the break.
Bailey followed with 12, all coming in the first half. Daphne Honeycutt finished with eight. Hannah Knight hit four points.
Mikayla Hannah, Megan Deese and Brittany Faulkner added one point each for the Lady Jackets.
“We played hard the whole game,” BHS coach T.J. Armbrust. “We fell in a hole, but came back. I’m not pleased with the loss, but we had a good effort.”
Andrew Jackson is at home Tuesday to face county foe Indian Land.
Buford takes a short bus ride to Pageland to battle the Central Eagles. begins here
u Contact sports editor Robert Howey at 283-1157