GAINESVILLE -- Even in victory, Buford basketball coach Allen Whitehart was effusive in his praise for North Hall after last week's Region 7-AAA championship game -- even noting he was, "glad to get away from," the Trojans for a while.
On Wednesday North Hall showed why, dispatching Decatur with relative ease in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs, 61-49.
The second-seeded Trojans (26-3) pounced on the visitors early, taking a 19-8 lead in the first quarter and extending that advantage to 30-15 at halftime.
The third-seeded Bulldogs (17-12) limited the damage in the second half but could never put together enough momentum to cut into North Hall's lead.
Ebo Smith poured in a game-high 25 points to lead the Trojans back into the second round of the postseason for a second straight campaign. Awaiting is a Sweet 16 match-up with Region 8-AAA champ Morgan County (21-5), which features two towering post presences in C.J. Thurman and Josh Sallette, both listed at 6-foot-8.
The Trojans have plenty of ability of their own, however, and showed so again on Wednesday, as Adam Kelly chipped in with 14 points and Avery Cagle and Griffin Olson put up 10 points apiece.
Davante Meadows led Decatur with 12 points, while Cordele Jackson added 11.
North Hall will travel to Madison on Saturday to take on Morgan County. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m.