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Buford girls advance to state title game
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MACON – Led by Andraya Carter, who scored 13 of her team-high 20 points in the second half, the Buford Lady Wolves reserved a spot in the Class AA state championship following a 62-49 win Friday over Laney High School in the semifinals at the Macon Centreplex.

Alysha Rudnik also reached double figures for the Lady Wolves with 12 points in the game.

“We are just happy to be back in the finals,” Buford (28-4) coach Gene Durden said following the win. “We have nothing but respect for the Laney program. We have played them so many times. It goes back to my Dade County days. We knew we’d have to bring it tonight.”

The Lady Wolves also faced Laney (26-4) in the semifinals last season on their way to claiming the 2009 state title.

In Thursday’s contest, it was more of the same for the Lady Wolves as they used an aggressive defense to baffle the Lady Wildcats, who came into the contest averaging 74 points per game.

The Lady Wolves coach said a major key to the game was defense and limiting good shots.

“We had to do a good job on their shooters,” Durden said. “We let them have some open looks, but it came down to playing great defense and they responded.”

Carter agreed with her coaches thoughts on the game.

“I think defense is how you really win games,” Carter said. “They can’t win if they can’t score and we just know that is something
we can control.”

The Lady Wolves did just that as they led 32-23 at the half.

One of Laney’s top players, Mykala Jones, scored 22 points in the game, but it was too tall of an order to ask her to single-handedly win the game.

The Lady Wildcats struggled to score early in the second half, as Kayla Burge extended the Lady Wolves lead to double digits (46-33) with less than two minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Lacey Pass put the game out of reach as she drained back-to-back 3-pointers to end the third and start the fourth quarter as the Lady Wolves lead grew to 52-36 with 7:08 remaining in the game.

When the final buzzer sounded, the Lady Wolves circled at midcourt for a short meeting with their coach as Buford fans gave them a loud ovation.

In regards to making a return trip to the title game, Carter said she hopes the Lady Wolves have proved anyone who questioned the team’s ability wrong.

“I think it is amazing because we lost so many seniors from last season’s team,” Carter said. “I don’t think a lot of people thought we could do it. I even think we may have had some doubts going back. We’ve proved we can do it and that we’re a good program and not a one-hit wonder.”

The Lady Wolves will now face the winner of the Vidalia-Greater Atlanta Christian game at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Macon Centreplex.

“We know GAC really well,” Durden said. “Knowing them helps out with one day to prepare, but at this stage it just comes down to making plays. Right now we have to enjoy the win and then we have to basically go from there and come up with a game plan.”

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