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BUFORD – Indian Land prevailed in a pair of thrillers to cap regular-season Conference III-A basketball play in a sweep of county rival Buford on Thursday night.
The Conference III-A champion Indian Land girls put the finishing touches on a perfect league mark, but not without a battle in a 46-43 win over the upset-minded the Lady Jackets.
In the nightcap, the IL boys rallied to notch a 48-41 win over Buford.
The opener was a battle to the wire, with Buford looking to pull the upset.
The Lady Warriors held off Buford for the three-point win.
“Buford played hard and gave us a scare,” IL coach Tamara Jacobus said. “I commend them on their performance. They have improved over the course of the season and this game reflected it.
“It was good to get the win, but this also may have been a wake-up call for us,” Jacobus said. “No matter the foe, you have to come to play.”
Jelissa Gordon led a balanced IL attack with 11 points. Mariah Williams and Shelby McConnell hit eight points each. Hannah Harris scored seven. Tameka Robinson and Brittany Montgomery hit four apiece.
Alyssa Thomas and Amanda Gullickson added two points each.
IL held a 16-8 lead after a period, but BHS charged to close the cap to 26-21 at the break. The Lady Warriors, 18-5, 12-0, owned a 37-34 edge with a period to play before taking the win.
“To have an unbeaten record in region play is an accomplishment, but Buford gave us a challenge and made us earn it,” Jacobus said. “I'm proud of what we have achieved this season, but Buford also deserves credit for an excellent effort tonight.”
Indian Land opens the Class A Upper State playoffs on Monday when the Lady Warriors host Williston-Elko.
The Lady Jackets were led by Janay Blackmon who hit 14 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Blackmon tallied nine second-half points. Kendall Boone netted 11, nine in the first half. Carley Bailey scored 10, five in each half.
Kirsten Cauthen, BHS's lone senior, scored four points and had eight rebounds. Jena Hallman and Hannah Knight added two points each.
“We played 32 minutes and played with fire and intensity,” Buford coach T.J. Armbrust said. “Our confidence grew as the game progressed. It was a tough loss, but it gives us something to build on because Indian Land is a good basketball team.”
In the nightcap, Indian Land, 10-13, 7-5, rallied to take the seven-point win.
IL sophomore Terrell Rogers hit 21 points, 11 in the final period, to propel the Warriors to the win.
Indian Land, up 15-13 after one period, stretched its edge to 30-24 at the break, but Buford ignited to take a 34-33 lead after three periods.
Rogers triggered the Warriors' decisive rally, netting 11 of IL's 15 points in the final period.
“I knew it would be a battle to the buzzer,” IL coach Nate Smith said. “We made some big plays down the stretch to earn this one. It was a team effort, but Terrell made some big shots in the clutch.”
Ted Boston chipped in eight for IL. Justin Gordon scored six and Marcus Williams finished with five points. Jarrell Robinson tallied four. Keyadd Miller and Tre Harvey had two points each.
Senior Qua Reid sparked Buford with 12 points. Marcus Brown scored 10. Donald Kirkley and Anthony Williams netted five points each. Logan McDowell, Andrew Jennings, Logan Segee, and Desmond McGriff had two points apiece. Wayne Blakeney added one.
“Our defense was good and we made them work hard,” BHS coach Jeff Moyer said. “We did a good job of limiting their transition points.”