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  Buford’s 6’6” Marcus Watson goes in for another dunk in the opening minutes of the first round of state playoffs. Photo courtesy Alicia Couch Payne
Buford’s 6’6” Marcus Watson goes in for another dunk in the opening minutes of the first round of state playoffs. Photo courtesy Alicia Couch Payne

The Buford Wolves opened their title defense in the AAAAA state playoffs Friday, February 16th. They played host to a Cass team that was looking for an upset but the defending state AAAAA champions would welcome them to their new arena and shot out to a 31-8 first period lead. That lead kept growing and Buford pulled out a 82-49 victory in the first round of the AAAAA state playoffs. Junior Marcus Watson led the way with 23 points including some tomahawk, rim shaking dunks that brought the crowd to their feet. David Viti was deadeye with his 3-point marksmanship and chipped in with 18 points.

Senior Alex Jones was dishing out assists as the ball movement was exactly what coach Eddie Martin was hoping for. Martin, who is gunning for his eighth state title was extremely proud of the way his team got off to a good start and praised the ball movement. Jones finished with 12 points and Junior Donell Nixon also chipped in with 12 points.

Jones who is committed to Lipscomb University along with Viti, a Georgia Southern commit, transferred in from other schools last year. The pair helped lead the Wolves to a 2017 state title and both are hoping to help bring home another state title this year. Buford is now 25-3 and will play host to #4 ranked Miller Grove, a 69-49 victor over Riverwood, on Thursday, February 22nd at 7 p.m. at the Buford Arena.

  The Lady Wolves dominated Kell Friday night outscoring the Lady Longhorns by more than 50 points. Photo courtesy Alicia Couch Payne
The Lady Wolves dominated Kell Friday night outscoring the Lady Longhorns by more than 50 points. Photo courtesy Alicia Couch Payne

The Buford girls also had a landslide victory as Tory Ozment, a Michigan State commit, led the Lady Wolves to a 75-24 victory over Kell. The Lady Longhorns could not muster any offense and the stifling defense of the Lady Wolves kept adding on. Ozment finished with 20 points while Tate Walters scored 9 points, Blair Wallis contributed 7, Sierra Sieracki added 6 points, and Shy Willis finished with 5 points.  Six additional girls scored 4 points a piece.

Coach Gene Durden when asked how he felt about Friday night’s performance, stated “It was a great warm up game for the first round of the state playoffs and all our players got to play and gain valuable experience for both the tournament and next year.” The Lady Wolves improved to a 25-3 season record.

Looking ahead for the Lady Wolves, Durden claims that the team needs to “focus on playing great half court defense and executing on offense.  Rebounding is always a key to winning a championship.” Next up on the Lady Wolves quest for the AAAAA state title is Atlanta’s Jackson High School on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Buford Arena.

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