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Athlete of the week: Alverson leads Buford into state playoffs
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Honorable mentions


Jaymee Carnes, Gainesville: 17 points and eight rebounds against East Hall last Saturday.

George Manomano, Gainesville: 22 points against West Hall last Saturday.

Juwon Jeffries, Gainesville: 22 points against Flowery Branch last Thursday.

Josh Barrett, Flowery Branch: Averaged 21 points in two games last week.

Ishmael Hollis, Flowery Branch: 18 points and 17 rebounds against North Hall last Saturday.

Jessica Harper, Flowery Branch: 20 points against Lumpkin County last Tuesday.

Peyton Robertson, Chestatee: 17 points and nine rebounds against Gilmer last Saturday.

Brandon McKinney, Riverside Military: 27 points against East Jackson last Friday.

Steven Frady, Riverside Military: 18 points against Dawson County last Saturday.

Dylen Setzekorn, Riverside Military: 20 points against Oglethorpe County last Tuesday.

Stephen Scaife, Dawson County: 22 points against Union County last Friday.

Haughton Carswell, Lakeview Academy: 22 points against Athens Academy last Friday.

Brittany Moore, Lakeview Academy: 19 points against Athens Academy last Wednesday.

Ashley Brown, Lumpkin County: 32 points against Flowery Branch last Tuesday.

McKenna Rushton, North Hall: 20 points against West Forsyth last Tuesday.

Kavon Williams, West Hall: 18 points against Gilmer last Tuesday.

Jayla Moon, West Hall: 21 points against Creekview last Tuesday.

Kymmon Woods, East Hall: 20 points against Pickens last Tuesday.

Devaris Finch, Johnson: 25 points against Creekview last Tuesday.


Hong Tran, Gainesville: Made 18 saves and stopped two penalty kicks against Columbus last Friday.

Rudy Vazquez, West Hall: Four goals over two games last week.

Tess Patten, North Hall: Four goals and an assist against North Forsyth last Friday.

Julia Matthews, North Hall: Three goals and two assists against North Forsyth last Friday.

Allie Wright, North Hall: Two goals and three assists against North Forsyth last Friday.


Danny Bell, Flowery Branch: Class AAA state champion at 119 pounds in the GHSA State Traditionals last Saturday.

Zac Crosby, Jefferson: Class AA state champion at 171 pounds in the GHSA State Traditionals.

Cason Thurmond, Jefferson: Class AA state champion at 103 pounds in the GHSA State Traditionals.

Ryan Howe, Jackson County: Class AAA state champion at 189 pounds in the GHSA State

Nick Voss, Buford: Class AA state champion at 145 pounds in the GHSA State Traditionals.

Joe Perry, Dawson County: Class AA state champion at 130 pounds in the GHSA State Traditionals.

BUFORD — Buford High guard Blanche Alverson had her eyes set on a region title from the beginning of her senior season.

Now that goal is a reality, and Alverson was catalyst in making it happen. She scored a team-high 19 points to lead the Lady Wolves to their first region title in 10 years, topping Greater Atlanta Christian 61-47 in the Region 6-AA finals last Friday.

“It was one of our main goals at the beginning of the season,” said Alverson, who is this year’s Region 6-AA Player of the Year. “Our two goals were a region championship and a state championship. It’s good to have one down, now it’s time for our second one.”

That’s where the next chapter begins in the success story that has been the 2008-09 Buford basketball season. With 26 straight wins and counting, Alverson’s Lady Wolves (27-1) enter Friday’s state playoffs as Class AA’s top-ranked team, and the biggest target for the other 31 teams standing between them and the program’s first state championship.

“All teams want to go out and get the big upset,” Alverson said. “We like to think that target is on us. That gives us more fuel to go out and play.”

If that’s any indicator that Alverson’s game will be more intense in the playoffs, opponents could be in for trouble. The 6-foot-3 Auburn University commit enters Friday’s first-round game averaging 17.5 points and nine rebounds per game.

Alverson also gets to enjoy home court through the first two rounds of the playoffs, which gives her some familiarity with her surroundings.

“Last year we had to travel a few hours and there definitely was some wear-and-tear,” she said. “It’s definitely a huge advantage to be able to stay here and prepare for the game without travel.”

Regardless, travel isn’t anything new to Alverson. It’s how she ended up in Georgia in the first place. A native of Andalusia, Ala., she began training at Peach State Elite — a well-known basketball academy in Suwanee — where she gained the exposure that led to her commitment to Auburn.

When her family moved to Georgia before her junior year, Alverson enrolled at Buford, where she has since become a key player in coach Gene Durden’s game plan.

“She’s very versatile. She can be a perimeter or a post player. She can do it all,” Durden said. “She’s very deceptive. When you think of a 6-3 kid in high school you’d think they’re a post, but Blanche can hit 22-foot shots and can set people up for a pass.”

Once Alverson’s career at Buford is finished, she’ll hit the road again, this time only two hours away from where she grew up. When she enrolls at Auburn in the fall, she will become the sixth person in her family to attend the school, including her brother, who is currently a junior there.

“I’m very excited,” Alverson said. “They were the first ones to offer me, so I got to know the staff really well.

“Obviously, I’ll have to learn all the new stuff, but it’s a program where I’ll fit in well.”

With straight A’s in school, and a possible major in pre-medicine, Durden believes that Alverson will have as much success in the classroom as she does on the court.

“Blanche is a great basketball player, but she’s just as good a young lady,” Durden said. “She has all the intangibles.”

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