Volunteers solid in sweep of Jackets

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AJ takes pair at BHS

By Heath Joplin




BUFORD – The night belonged to Andrew Jackson as the visiting Volunteers rolled to a pair of Region IV-AA basketball wins over county rival Buford High School on Friday, Jan. 31.

The No. 5 Lady Vols smashed the Lady Jackets, 50-16 and the AJ boys swarmed the Jackets in a 64-43 victory to cap the sweep.

AJ, in the nightcap, led from wire-to-wire to snag the 21-point win over the Jackets.

The Vols, 5-13, 2-3, opened an early lead on the Jackets and steadily pulled away to notch the win.

“This was a great win for Andrew Jackson,” Vols coach Danny Wright said. “I was very proud of the way we played for four periods.”

AJ opened a 20-13 lead and then outscored the Jackets, 15-11 to take a 35-24 lead at the half.

Senior guard Dustin Eddins, who led AJ with 17 points, hit 12 in the opening half to boost the Vols. Dontarious James netted 12 points, with nine coming before the break.

The Vols kept the upper hand in the third period, building a 48-31 spread,

“I look back on this game and the difference for us in a big win was we did the little things right,” Wright said. “We hustled after the loose balls, rebounded well and defended shots.”

The Vols outscored the Jackets, 16-12 in the final eight minutes to wrap up the victory, AJ’s sixth straight over Buford.

“We had a lot of people contributing tonight and that always makes a difference,” Wright said.

Corey Walters was in double figures with 11, eight in the second half.

Gervais Canty hit six. Luke Sowell, Cameron McIsaac and Tray King each tallied four points. Austin Truesdale finished with three as did Tevin Izzard.

Buford, which fell to 8-9, 1-4, was led by Corey Bracey’s 17 points, nine in the second half. Druw Rollings hit seven and Garrett Crenshaw had six. Orantez Coleman netted five. Kholby Pate, Christian Joplin, Wade Lambert and Tomas Hayden each added two points.

Buford coach Neil Couch said the Jackets had a tough night.

“Right now, we’re not a very good team,” Couch said. “We have to be mentally tough and we’re not. Andrew Jackson deserves credit because they beat us in every facet of the game.”

In the girls’ game, the Lady Vols started strong and cruised to their 34-point win over the Lady Jackets.

AJ, 14-3, 5-0, bolted to a 16-0 first-period lead and was in control for the triumph.

The Lady Vols owned a 28-4 halftime spread and never looked back.

“Our defense was there from the opening tip to the end of the game,” AJ girls coach Dennis Farmer said. “Our defense created turnovers which led to easy baskets and limited Buford’s possessions.

“These girls are a very unselfish team which plays hard from start to finish.”

AJ led 41-11 after three before taking the win.

Lady Vols’ senior guard Dareisha Sowell led AJ with 13 points, eight in the first half.

Brantley Ussery hit 11 points, nine in the first half. She drained three treys.

Elizabeth Scott scored eight and Summer Vick hit seven. McKenzie Horton had four and Anslee McDow added three points. Ananda Cloud and Hailley Burton each tallied two points as the Lady Vols won for the 18th time in the last 20 meetings with the BHS girls.

Buford, 7-8, 1-4, was led by Hanna Robinson’s five points. Gabby Davis tallied four.

Valerine Jones, Autumn Rabon and Jasona Ballard each scored two points. Betty Ingram added one point.

BHS coach T.J. Armbrust said he was disappointed with the loss.

“We are obviously disappointed with the effort and lack of energy,” he said. “That is not acceptable basketball.

“Andrew Jackson deserves credit,” Armbrust said. “They are a very good team and they made things hard for us.”

AJ hosted Central in a makeup game Saturday, Feb. 1. The Vols host Cheraw on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

Buford High visits rival Indian Land High in a makeup game Monday, Feb. 3, and will visit Central of Pageland on Tuesday, Feb. 4.