DALTON — Buford senior Andraya Carter knew before the game she wouldn’t be doing much scoring after dislocating her shoulder on Tuesday.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be able to shoot very well,” Carter said. “So I told my teammates that I’d try to play smart, play well on defense and go after the rebounds.”
The 5-foot-8 point guard grabbed 11 boards and junior Kaela Davis keyed the offense with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting as the Lady Wolves rolled to a 65-43 win over Heard County on Friday in the state quarterfinals at the Northwest Georgia Trade Center in Dalton.
Buford, the defending Class AA state champions, will face the winner of Brooks County/Putnam County at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Macon Centreplex.
This year hasn’t been the smoothest of rides for the defending state champion Buford girls basketball team (24-7), and in particular Carter.
“It’s most definitely been a rough season,” Carter said after the game, her arm still wrapped. “But my teammates have been able to do everything I haven’t been able to.”
That was evident offensively in Friday’s game, as Kallie Case added 12 points and MacKenzie Darrah scored 10. Carter did add four points despite the trouble her arm gave her.
“It hurt to shoot, but i knew I could grab rebounds,” she said.
The effort by Carter, who missed the first half of the season after suffering a partial tear in her anterior cruciate ligament, wasn’t lost on her coach.
“Carter’s playing with a dislocated shoulder and gets 11 rebounds,” Buford coach Gene Durden said. “That says a lot about her character.”
With Carter back in the fold, even if still battling injury, the Lady Wolves are making another state push. Durden said that Friday night the team did two of the three things needed to win a state championship: Play half-court defense and rebound.
“The whole thing was dominated by half-court defense,” Durden said of the win, in which Buford took a double-digit lead after the first quarter and never looked back.
Jasmine Cook led Heard County (24-4) with 17 points, and Renee Walker and Aaliyah Rutledge each added 11.
Even if Friday’s win was relatively painless, Carter knows that the opponents will only get tougher for the Lady Wolves.
“It always gets tougher,” she said. “There’s no bad teams anymore.”