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Buford girls top Chestatee 45-26 in wire-to-wire victory
Buford boys team routs Chestatee to take control of first place in Region 8-AAAA
Chestatee's Brooklyn Popham (15) fouls Buford's Kya Styles (11) during Tuesday's game at Chestatee High School. - photo by Erin O. Smith

In coach Gene Durden’s program, Buford players are expected to “control the factors,” especially defending, rebounding, effort and energy.

Even after topping hosts Chestatee in a 45-26 Region 8-AAAA tussle Tuesday night, Durden said his team fell short of his program’s demands.

“We’ve got to control those factors,” said Durden, who coached the Lady Wolves to a Class AAAA state title last season. “You can do those things every night, it doesn’t matter who the opponent is. That’s the standard.”

Audrey Weiner led all scorers with 12 points in the wire-to-wire victory, Jessica Nelson chipped in 10 and Tory Ozment had seven points in an effort limited by early fouls.

The Lady Wolves (16-3, 4-0 in Region 8-AAAA), winner of 11 straight games, led 17-2 after the first quarter with a balanced effort, using six different Buford scorers on six field goals.

Still, Buford whiffed on a number of layups that could have stretched the advantage. Durden also made his feelings known about a 5-of-14 performance from the free throw line, well under Buford’s average.

“It’s nothing more than mental and physical toughness,” said Durden. “We had a chance to put away the game early and we didn’t do that.”

Down 20-4 early in the second quarter, Chestatee (9-12, 2-2) put together a 9-3 run over the final 4:25 of the first half. The War Eagles could have been within eight at halftime, had Lindsey Caudell (10 points) sank her runner at the buzzer.

Chestatee coach Web Daniel said his team wasn’t as aggressive as it typically has been this season, saying some players were “afraid of the name” of Buford. The War Eagles finished as region runners-up in 8-AAAA last season, falling to Buford 26-10 in the region title game. 

The Lady Wolves held Chestatee to its second-lowest offensive output so far this season. The lowest was in a 43-23 loss to Central (Ala.) in a holiday tournament on Dec. 21.

“We can’t simulate Buford’s size or strength,” said Daniel. “We’ve been aggressive for the last couple games, but we needed to come out better than in this one and start making shots.”

The Lady Wolves controlled the boards in the third quarter, limiting Chestatee to just one field goal while pulling out to a 34-18 lead. Brooklyn Popham (11 points) nailed two treys early in the fourth, but they were too little, too late for the Lady War Eagles, who gave up a 9-0 run toward the end of the contest.

Buford next travels to Toccoa for a 7 p.m. tip Friday against Stephens County before a home non-region game against Morgan County at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Chestatee next travels to Cleveland to play White County at 7 p.m. Friday.

BUFORD BOYS 75, CHESTATEE 36: The Wolves constructed a 28-point third quarter to pull away from and eventually rout Chestatee on the road.

Brandon Iverson led all scorers with 16 points, Alex Jones had 15 points and RJ Walker chipped in 11 as Buford (9-11, 4-0 in Region 8-AAAA) cruised over the War Eagles.

Barron King (10 points) was the lone Chestatee scorer in double digits, Logan Cates had seven points, while Mikey Petratoi and Nick Lyles both picked up six points apiece for Chestatee (0-18, 0-4 Region 8-AAAA).

Buford next travels to Toccoa at 8:30 p.m. Friday to tackle Stephens County before a home nonregion game against Morgan County at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

Chestatee next travels to Cleveland to play White County on Friday, before tackling Riverside Military Academy in a road non-region game at 3 p.m. Saturday.

With White County losing to North Hall on Tuesday, the Wolves currently sit in first place in the region standings.

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