Tuesday May 31st, 2016 11:35PM

7-AAA championships: Wolves grind out win over Dawson to take region title

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
BUFORD -- The flash of the Buford boys team is obvious when you see the likes of D'Marcus Simonds, Rakim Lubin, Matt McMorris, and Justin Edwards running the floor.

But for Buford coach Allen Whitehead, its all about the grind.

The Wolves made their coach smile after grinding out an ugly but effective 56-29 win over Dawson County in the Region 7-AAA finals Tuesday at the Buford gym.

"I love for us to grind things out," Whitehead said. "Half-court offense is where you win championships. I thought we did well at times. Defensively, I thought we played outstanding."

Buford (23-5) next will play the fourth seed from Region 5-AAA. The Tigers (21-7) will be the No. 2 seed from 7-AAA and play the No. 3 seed from 5-AAA. Dates and times for both will be determined later.

Neither team lit up the scoreboard as the defenses dictated the action. Buford held the Tigers to under 20 percent shooting and controlled the boards to limit second chance points. Both areas were causes for concern for Whitehead after a rough semifinal win over White County the night before.

"We went back to watch film and told the guys they needed to do a better job if we wanted to win (tonight)," he said. "We have to do the little things to win. I was pleased with our effort tonight."

Buford opened the game with a 5-0 run but the Tigers stormed back. Cameron Millholland capped a 7-3 run with a long 3-pointer to pull Dawson County within 8-7 with 3:01 left in the first quarter.

The Wolves, however, would answer. They used a 9-0 run to close out the quarter and then added a 6-2 spurt to begin the second quarter for a 23-9 lead. The Tigers got to within 23-12 on a Levi Whitmire 3-pointer but Buford eventually took a 26-14 lead into halftime.

Things did not get much better for the Tigers in the second half as Buford again held them to just seven points in the quarter. They missed seven straight shots at one point and had just two field goals. Buford led 37-21 after the third quarter and blew the game open with a 13-4 run to begin the fourth.

Dawson County coach Thad Burgess was left just shaking his head.

"A terrible night shooting. Couldn't hit a thing," he said. "You have some games like that. We'll just get ready to play on Saturday. We're playing at home and we feel that is a big advantage for us."

Simonds, who was named the boys 7-AAA Player of the Year after the game, paced the Wolves with 20 points. Lubin added 16 for Buford.

Lucas Pain led Dawson with nine points.


Kyvon Davenport hit 2-of-4 free throws in the final 2.7 seconds to lift the Vikings to a thrilling win in the third-place game of the Region 7-AAA Tournament.

East Hall (16-12) trailed for most of the first three quarters before putting together a 14-2 run over the final 5:22 of the third quarter to grab a 52-45 lead. It was back-and-forth the rest of the way.

White County's Jordan Egerton reclaimed the lead for the Warriors 57-55 on a long 3-pointer . Devon Watson of East Hall answered with two straight baskets to retake the lead for the Vikings, 61-60.

White County would tie the game at 65 with a minute to go and East Hall would hold the ball until the final seconds. Davenport was fouled and hit 1-of-2 free throws for a 66-65 lead with 2.7 seconds left.

The Warriors had a chance to have the final shot but turned the ball over and Davenport was fouled again with 1.3 seconds left. He hit one more free throw and White County (17-10) could not get a shot off before time ran out.

Jacquen Hopkins led the Vikings with 13 points. Davenport finished with 11 points and Antonio Maddox had eight for East Hall.

Spencer Adams paced White County with 15 points. Egerton finished with 11 points and Dalton Whitfield added 10 for the Warriors.

White County came out firing using a 17-0 run early to help build a 17-3 lead behind Jordan Egerton and Whit Mauny. East Hall's Milton Whelchel would break the drought with two baskets but the Warriors used another 8-0 run to build a 25-7 lead early in the second quarter.

The Vikings then began to chip away. They used a 7-1 run to cut the lead to 26-14 and then Hopkins completed a three-point play to pull them within 37-29 with 59 seconds left.

Whelchel would put the finishing touches on the comeback with a steal and layup with two seconds left to get East Hall within 39-35 by halftime.

After the game, the Region 7-AAA All-Region boys team was officially announced. Below are those selected by region coaches:

2013-14 7-AAA Boys All-Region Team

Austin Venable -- Banks County
Tyquan Statham -- West Hall
Hunter Atkinson -- West Hall
Brock Wingo -- North Hall
Spencer Adams -- White County
Kyvon Davenport -- East Hall
Lucas Pain -- Dawson County
Levi Whitmire -- Dawson County
Matt McMorris -- Buford
Rakim Lubin -- Buford

Region 7-AAA Player of the Year:
D'Marcus Simonds -- Buford
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