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High school basketball: Buford vs. Lovett preview
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Buford girls

vs. Lovett

When: 3 p.m. today

Where: Macon Centreplex

Records: Buford (25-7, No. 1 Region 6-AA); Lovett (27-5, No. 2 Region 6-AA)

Coaches: Buford, Gene Durden; Lovett, Liz Kennedy

Key players: Buford, SG Kaela Davis (6-2, Jr.); PG Andraya Carter (5-8, Sr.); C Kristina Nelson (6-4, Jr.). Lovett, SF Tatianna Jackson (5-9, Sr.); PG Taylor Brown (5-8 Jr.); PF Sydney Umeri (6-1, Jr.)

Outlook: For the second consecutive year, the girls Class AA state championship game is a Region 6-AA rematch.

Last year it was Buford vs. Greater Atlanta Christian, and this year it’s Buford vs. Lovett. The Lady Wolves won both region title games, as well as the state title over GAC.

They have also already defeated the Lady Lions twice this season, although the Lady Lions kept in close in the region championship game, falling 45-39.

“We had to fight them tooth and nail in the region tournament,” Durden said after Buford clinched a spot in the state title game with a 70-37 win over Brooks County in the semifinals Thursday in Macon.

The Lady Wolves are the three-time defending state champs and are gunning for a four-peat. The Lady Lions are trying to cap what has already been a surprising year, with upsets of ranked teams East Hall, Model and Laney in succession to reach the title game.

Lovett is led by Jackson, who led all scorers with 28 points in the semifinal win over Laney, halting Laney’s 26-game winning streak. Model also had a 26-game winning streak going before meeting Lovett.

The Lady Wolves don’t have that kind of winning streak, just a streak of state championships that they would like to keep intact.

Davis has led the team all season, scoring 13 points in the semifinal blowout despite not playing most of the second half. Carter is the team leader, and can wrap up a near-perfect high school career with a fourth state title. Nelson, who scored 12 points Thursday, could be a key Saturday as she goes up against a pair of 6-foot Lovett forwards in Umeri and senior Christen Johnson.

Nelson is ready.

“I like playing against bigger players,” Nelson said. “It’s going to be a lot of pressure, but I think we’re up for the challenge.”

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