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Girls Athlete of the Week: Buford guard Camille Anderson

POSTED: January 15, 2014 9:53 p.m.

Camille Anderson believes Buford’s opponents expected to face a vulnerable, beatable Lady Wolves squad on the basketball court this season.

That perceived lack of respect has fueled her all season long, even though it’s hard to imagine that anyone could be overlooking the Lady Wolves at this point.

Anderson, the Wolves’ 5-foot-8 junior combo guard, has averaged 17 points per game this season while leading Buford (15-1) to 15 consecutive victories following an overtime loss to Morgan County in the season opener.

“Our motivation is knowing that every time somebody walks in that gym, they think they have a step ahead because we lost so many people (from last season),” Anderson said. “We believe we can (win) no matter what anybody thinks.”

Much of Buford’s dominance can be linked directly to Anderson, who, according to Lady Wolves coach Gene Durden, has served as the primary ball handler, scorer and defender for a team that needed a new go-to player after graduating most of its leaders from a year ago.

Anderson most recently helped keep the Lady Wolves’ winning streak alive by pouring in 27 points on Saturday in a 47-40 victory over Creekview, a consistently strong Class AAAAA program.

For her efforts, Anderson in The Times’ Girls Athlete of the Week.

“Camille has had a lot to do with our success this season,” Durden said.

“We’ve asked her to do a lot of different things. She’s just been a great trooper about them.”

Anderson is already verbally committed to play college basketball at N.C. State, where she was recruited as a wing player.

Durden said he has been most impressed with the ease in which she has transitioned from a role player as a sophomore on the Lady Wolves’ 2012-13 squad, limited mostly to outside shooting, to such an all-around threat this season.

Buford finished 24-5 last year after falling to St. Pius X in the Class AAA state quarterfinals.

“I think one of hardest things to do as a high school player is being asked to change a role that you’re comfortable in,” Durden said.

“Camille got a lot of open looks last year because other teams had to do so much double-teaming on our big girls inside. It really shows her blossoming as a complete player.”

Said Anderson: “Last year I just stood in the corner; I was kind of a spot-up shooter. I wasn’t really looked to for a big-time role.

“This year I’ve pretty much tried to put the team on my back.”

According to Durden, Anderson’s transition has been eased by her physical strength.

By working out almost every day, she has honed her ability to contribute much more than shots from outside the paint.

“She has such a strong body,” Durden said. “She shoots the 3 really well, but she also finishes around the basket really well.”

Although Buford relies heavily at times on Anderson’s ability to score, the coach believes her defense has been of equal or greater value to the team this season.

The Lady Wolves have surrendered an average of 40 points per game to opponents — second-lowest in Region 7-AAA — and have allowed an opposing team to score more than 50 points only twice this season.

Anderson typically draws the task of guarding the other team’s top offensive threat.

“I think right now she’s being a (great) defender,” Durden said. “We usually put her on the other team’s best scorer and our defense has been a staple this year, really helping us win a lot of games.”

Both Durden and Anderson believe that team chemistry has been another important factor in Buford’s success this season. Much of the team’s roster has been together since middle school, and the players have only grown closer over time.

Their ultimate goal is to claim another state championship for the program — Buford won three consecutive titles from 2009-11 — but Anderson said that winning the Big Red Shootout at Gainesville High in December was also meaningful because it was the team’s first tournament win in some time.

As for Buford’s sizable winning streak, Anderson said she doesn’t see it as any sort of burden or unwanted pressure.

“I think it’s more of a motivation than a distraction,” Anderson said.

“Who wants to lose a game after winning 15 straight games and not losing a game at home all season?”


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