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This week: Wolves to honor fallen teammate
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To his friends, family, coaches and teammates, Adam Smith was a special young man. That’s why they’ve planned a special tribute to celebrate his memory when the Buford boys basketball team plays its home opener Friday against Banks County.

Modeled after the Silent Night game held annually at Taylor University in Indiana, students will be admitted free to the game and are encouraged to dress in “kind of wild, crazy costumes,” Buford assistant coach Mike Lawley said.
During the game, the crowd will remain absolutely silent until the Wolves score their 10th point — in honor of Smith’s jersey number — at which point the crowd will go wild and a timeout will be called so that a celebration may be held.

“Adam was kind of wild and crazy in a really good way, so we thought this would be a good way to remember him and celebrate his life,” Lawley said.

Smith’s family is supportive of the idea and his parents are expected to attend, Lawley added.

Smith, remembered for his wide smile and engaging personality, died in September after collapsing during conditioning work with the basketball team.

Friday’s game will follow the Buford/Banks County girls game, which is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.

LANIERLAND RESUMES: The 53rd annual Lanierland Tournament opened with eight games Saturday and picks back up with the girls semifinals Thursday at Gainesville.

The Chestatee girls, who edged West Hall in the first round, will take on a North Hall team (6-1) off to a hot start despite losing the bulk of its production from last year’s semifinals team. The Lady War Eagles (8-1) are playing just as well, and are currently riding a seven-game winning streak. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

In the other girls semifinal, East Hall will take on Flowery Branch at 8:30 p.m. The Lady Vikings (4-3) are also coping with the loss of a talented group of seniors, but looked strong Saturday in a 54-41 win over Lakeview that ended a three-game losing skid. Flowery Branch could be the tournament’s favorite, and will enter Tuesday’s game with a 9-0 record. The Lady Falcons’ smallest margin of victory on the season has been nine points.

The boys semifinals will pick up Friday night at North Hall with the Trojans (6-1) taking on Gainesville (1-4) at 8:30 p.m. and Oakwood rivals West Hall and Johnson squaring off at 7 p.m.

Gainesville earned its first win of the season Saturday against Chestatee and benefitted from the return of football player Chase England. They’ll get another boost this week when key contributors Deshaun Watson, Caleb Hayman, Justin Cantrell and Tray Harrison make their return. The Red Elephants will likely need them against the rival Trojans, who avenged their only loss of the season Saturday with a dominant 77-40 win over Lakeview.

In the other semifinal, Johnson (9-1) will try to continue its hot start against a West Hall team (5-3) that thrives on strong defense. Only one Spartans opponent has scored more than 59 points this season — Johnson, in a 72-54 win over West Hall on Dec. 8.

The first round of boys consolation games will be held Thursday at Gainesville, while the girls will play Friday at North Hall.

The finals will be held Satuday at North Hall.

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