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Girls Athlete of the Week: Buford's Kristina Nelson

POSTED: February 18, 2013 8:54 p.m.

After losing ground last season with a shoulder injury that required surgery and weeks of physical therapy, Buford forward Kristina Nelson has gotten back into her scoring groove at the perfect time for the Lady Wolves.

A key player on this season’s Lady Wolves team, Nelson has not always been the leading scorer, but she is always a major contributor.

In the past few weeks, however, she has caught fire and helped lead Buford to the Region 7-AAA Championship.

“I think she’s done a great job of responding here late in the season, coming in and being a primary go-to person for us,” said coach Gene Durden. “I think that she’s always had the opportunity to be a scorer, and right now we have to get the ball to her a little bit more and establish the post game.”

Nelson, a 6-foot-3 Notre Dame signee, scored 14 points in a win against White County in the 7-AAA semifinal game and led the Lady Wolves with 20 points in the championship match against Dawson County on Saturday.

For her efforts, Nelson is The Times Girls Athlete of the Week.

“In the final two region games, it was a situation especially in the Dawson County game where they were shooting outside jump shots,” Durden said. “We knew we had to get the ball to her in the paint and she absolutely delivered.”

The Lady Wolves have needed Nelson’s scoring lately now that they are playing without Georgia Tech recruit Kaela Davis, who left the team earlier this month.

As the face of the team changed over the past few weeks, Durden realized that someone would have to step up in order for the team to become champions, and he was not surprised when it was Nelson who led the charge.

“There’s no doubt about it,” Durden said, “Kristina has really played a major role in the past few weeks. She’s really stepped up.”

Part of Nelson’s value to the team is her ability to score from many places on the court but also adapt to the game as it’s being played.

“She does a great job around the basket, but she also has the ability to back out and shoot the 15-foot jump shot,” Durden said. “She’s a great passer in the post.”

Her wide skill set is certainly an asset to the team, but Durden knows that they have improvements to make to their game if they want to go all the way, and Nelson helps with that.

“We feel like to win a state championship, you have to be strong in rebounding, half-court defense and half-court execution, and we feel like we have to get better in all three of those areas,” Durden said.

“I think she really contributes to our half-court offense. She definitely does a great job around the basket with her scoring.”

Not only is she valued on the court, Nelson is a presence off the court that helps hold the team together and create the chemistry that helps them succeed.

“Kristina is loved by everybody,” Durden said. “She has such a great personality. Her teammates really respect her and love her. She draws a great chemistry to our team.

“She even takes care of our younger players.”

As the Lady Wolves prepare to face Woodward Academy at 6 tonight in Buford, the team will once again look to Nelson for leadership. But win or lose, one thing is for certain, Durden said.

“Kristina has really stepped up her game, and we’re happy to have her on our team,” Durden said. “We just love her as a player and as a person.”


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