Friday May 22nd, 2015 7:45PM

Class AAA semifinals: Lady Wolves advance to finals, beat Pike County

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
MILLEDGEVILLE -- This was supposed to be the season that Buford girls basketball took a step back -- instead the Lady Wolves are right back in title contention.

Buford moved one win away from its first state championship since 2011 on Saturday courtesy a 63-46 win over Pike County in the Class AAA semifinals in Milledgeville, using a 19-4 second quarter run to propel the Lady Wolves back to Macon after a one-year absence.

It will be the first trek to the Centreplex for a number of Buford standouts and one that coach Gene Durden is relishing, as they prepare to face St. Pius at 3 p.m. March 8.

"This is just an incredible journey; for us to have so few kids back from last year and for so many kids to wait their turn and now to be where we are -- we're truly blessed," said Durden, who returned just two true starters from a season ago. "And everybody in that locker room is excited."

With the way Buford plays defense there is certainly plenty of reason for anticipation.

And while the Lady Wolves (30-2) didn't do their usual full-court demolition job on Pike County Saturday -- forcing 12 total turnovers -- Buford still clamped down on the Lady Pirates in the half court, especially in the critical second quarter.

Leading 17-15, the Lady Wolves held Pike County without a basket for just under five minutes, enabling an 11-0 run that stretched to 19-4 before the half. The drought put Pike County in a 36-19 hole from which the Lady Pirates never recovered.

"The great thing about this team is that they can play full court but if that's not working, they can back off and and do a really good job in the half court," Durden said. "That's what we did tonight. And that's big to be able to do that in tournament play."

Buford's depth has also proven critical throughout the state tournament, as the Lady Wolves claimed their third victory since Monday.

"That was critical, when you play so many games together like that it's easy to get tired," Durden said.

Now Buford will get a chance to rest up in anticipation of next week's title showdown -- a factor that Durden says could be a bain or boon.

"If we have all that time off and we come out and play well I'll say it was great, if not I won't like it -- check with me next week," Durden chuckled.

If Buford can continue its solid all-around play from Saturday, few will be talking about the lay-off.

Nine different Lady Wolves players scored in the semifinal, including a game-high 20 points for Camille Anderson -- who drained two 3-pointers in the second quarter run that swung the game in Buford's favor. Bree Horrocks also added 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

"Our kids play so well together as a unit," Durden said. "They just really fit together as a team, and it's great to see."

Pike County pushed Buford early, trading baskets through the first quarter, as Buford eged ahead 17-13. Yet the Lady Wolves took control early in the second quarter and never trailed again, as Marissa Bruce, Horrocks and Anderson took turns scoring for a 36-19 Lady Wolves advantage.

The Lady Pirates tried to respond in the third quarter, cutting the Buford lead to 41-28 on Precious Daniels' 3-pointer with 3:45 left in the quarter. But the Lady Wolves responded and restored their advantage to 48-31 at the end of the period.

Pike County never threatened again.

Buford is looking at a showdown against St. Pius in the title game -- the team that knocked the Lady Wolves out of the postseason in last year's quarterfinal round.

Durden says he could care less about any potential storylines, however.

"We're just happy to be here; we don't care who we get," Durden said.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 4 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 4 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 4 months ago )
Lanierland boys semifinals: Unbeatens Johnson, Red Elephants roll into finals
Both Gainesville and Johnson powered their way into the Lanierland Tournament finals on Monday. The two undefeated teams will meet Tuesday for the title at 8:30 p.m. at Chestatee.
10:01AM ( 4 months ago )
Lanierland girls semifinals: GHS, Lady Falcons advance to finals <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Flowery Branch and Gainesville each took impressive wins Monday to advance to the Lanierland Tournament finals...
10:00AM ( 4 months ago )
Girls basketball: Lady Tigers advance to Pickens Holiday finals
The Dawson County girls basketball advanced to the finals of the Pickens Holiday Classic after an 81-54 win over Riverwood Monday.
11:48PM ( 4 months ago )
High School Sports
Battle-tested Dragons ready to pull off another road win in championship series
Forget “Mad Max,” Jefferson baseball might as well be re-making its own movie of similar vein this spring -- starring as themselves in “The Road Warrior(s).”
11:59PM ( 4 hours from now )
VIDEO: Gainesville baseball rides chemistry, momentum into championship series
For years, the Gainesville baseball team gazed at the outfield wall at Ivey-Watson Field -- adorned with seven state championship banners -- and wondered when the next might come.
5:01PM ( 2 hours ago )
Buford-Whitewater: Who has the experience in epic AAAA title showdown?
If experience is king in the playoffs, then is perhaps Buford, the No. 1 team in Class AAAA and considered by many to be the class of the entire state -- and ranked in the top 10 nationally -- the underdog in Saturday’s championship series against Whitewater?
1:10PM ( 6 hours ago )
No. 6 Nighthawks no-hit by Foley, drop opening round NCAA Championship contest
University of Indianapolis junior ace Morgan Foley etched her name in the NCAA Championship record book, joining a select few in throwing a no-hitter in the NCAA Division II Softball Championship.
By UNG Athletic Communications
10:41AM ( 9 hours ago )
Briscoe to substitute for Hinchcliffe in Indianapolis 500
Ryan Briscoe didn’t think twice about accepting the short-notice request from Verizon IndyCar Series team co-owner Sam Schmidt to drive in the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
By IndyCar Media
10:00AM ( 9 hours ago )