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Buford wins battle of No. 1s
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BUFORD — Familiar foes faced off Saturday night with an unfamiliar outcome.

Former subregion rivals Buford and Wesleyan played for the first time since Wesleyan ended Buford’s 2008 season with a 22-point rout in the Class AA state quarterfinals. That particular game was the fourth meeting of a season in which Wesleyan beat Buford four times by an average of 22 points.

Playing at home Saturday night, the Lady Wolves of Buford got their revenge in the form of a 73-57 win, and in the words of Buford coach Gene Durden, “Instant recognition for (Buford’s) program.”

“(Wesleyan) is a measuring stick in the Gwinnett area,” Durden said. “I think tonight we showed we were at the next level, their level.”

The matchup lived up to the hype that comes with two state No. 1 teams playing, even if those two teams are now in different classifications (Wesleyan moved to Class A this year).

There wasn’t a deficit bigger than four points until the fourth quarter, when Buford outscored Wesleyan 26-14. The two marquee players shined: Auburn commit Blanche Alverson had 18 points and nine rebounds for Buford (18-1) and Georgia commit Anne Marie Armstrong had 25 points for Wesleyan (18-4).

And the role players stepped up: Buford freshman Andraya Carter had 20 points, Wesleyan’s Logan Morris and Chantel Kennedy had 10 points each.

The first quarter ended with Wesleyan up 17-16 despite Buford holding an early lead at 11-7 thanks to play of Carter, who had seven of her 20 in the first period.

Wesleyan, however, came back on the shoulders of Armstrong and a quarter-ending 4-0 run. The senior had nine of her 25 in the first, including two of her four 3-pointers.

A back-and-forth second quarter housed Alverson’s first field goal and ended with Buford up one.

A sign of the rout to come was the third quarter as Buford ended with a Carter dribbling montage and an Alverson jumper to give the Lady Wolves the game’s biggest lead at 47-43.

The Lady Wolves took a five-point lead early in the fourth care of a driving Carter finding Alverson, who nailed a jumper from the free throw line. On their next possession, after a Wesleyan score, Buford again took a five-point lead on a Chanee Carson to Carter alley-oop for two points.

Carter had nine of her 20 points in the fourth quarter.

“(Andraya’s) just a special kid,” Durden said. “We’ve had a problem with Wesleyan for three years and she helped us solve it.”

The alley-oop proved to be the back breaker for Wesleyan as it didn’t get closer than five points for the remainder of the game.

“Our kids executed the game plan,” Durden said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Senior and Valdosta State commit Jocelyn Danley contributed 12 points for Buford which next plays host to Blessed Trinity at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

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