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Unsung heroes driving force behind Buford's state title hopes
Buford High’s unsung heros of the Wolves’ dominating 2008-09 season. Standing in the back from the left is Alysha Rudnik, Abby Johnson, Audrey Dorsey, and Sarah Dempsey. Kneeling in the front from the left is Michelle Godwin, Chanee Carson, and Katie Lynn. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times
Lady Wolves
Coach: Gene Durden
Record: 30-1
Key players: SG Blanche Alverson (6-3 Sr.); PF Jocelyn Danley (5-9 Sr.); PG Andraya Carter (5-8 Fr.).
Outlook: The Lady Wolves enter Thursday’s game after beating Rabun County by 32 points, a few points higher than their average deficit of 27 points against all of their opponents this season.
It’s simple to see that Buford, which has won 29 straight games entering Thursday’s contest, has been dominant against all its opponents throughout the season and has stayed consistent in the playoffs. The last time it lost was Dec. 6.
The Lady Wolves have a combination of size for solid rebounding and superior shooting ability, both of which are led by senior and Auburn commit Blanche Alverson, who at 6-foot-3 has yet to face anyone her size in this year’s playoffs.
Not that her height has been what has made her so dominant. Instead, her strength at 3-point line has made her one of the most feared shooters in Class AA.
She is complemented by Valdosta State commit Jocelyn Danley and freshman Andraya Carter, along with a slew of supporting cast members who have logged decent playing time in the second halves of lopsided contests.
Buford would welcome any team that could keep a close game for four quarters. The Lady Wolves haven’t had a team finish a game within 20 points of them since the Region 6-AA tournament.
In the game of basketball, there are those who make the shots and those who make the passes.

While it’s the shot that gets the attention, both are of equal importance.

When thinking about the Buford girls’ basketball team three names pop up: Auburn signee Blanche Alverson, Valdosta State signee Jocelyn Danley and freshman phenom Andraya Carter.

They are the leading scorers, and headline stealers, for a Lady Wolves’ team on a 29-game winning streak

There are others, however, whose roles are equally important, and who are just as key to top-ranked Buford being two wins away from the program’s first state title.

“One thing that has made this season so special is that we have such a well-rounded team,” Buford coach Gene Durden said.

“We have some kids that, no doubt about it, do their role of putting points on the board. But we also have so many other kids that do so many other things that sometimes in basketball don’t get noticed.”

Those “other kids” are seniors Michelle Godwin, Chanee Carson, Abby Johnson, Audrey Dorsey, Sarah Dempsey, Katie Lynn and junior Alysha Rudnik — the team’s young defensive stopper who gets the task of guarding the opponents’ best offensive threat game-in and game-out.

These players make up the charge-taking, rebounding-grabbing, defense-playing grunt work that combined with the point scoring of the big three, have Buford smelling a title.

“Everyone notices the scoring,” Johnson said, “but no one notices (Godwin’s) eight charge attempts or (Dorsey’s) eight rebounds or (Carson’s) eight tips on the press.

“If it weren’t for those things, though, the high scorer couldn’t be the high scorer.”

Durden echoed the sentiments of his senior leader, who he refers to as the player every team has to have because she does all the dirty work.

“Probably the thing I dislike most about the game of basketball is how everybody puts all the emphasis on points,” Durden said.
“They don’t put the emphasis a lot of times on really what wins games.

“We’ve got a great team that does a great job of sacrificing for each other and doing the things it takes to win a championship.”

Case in point, Godwin, who is a three-year starter at point guard and is, according to her coach, one of the best players he’s ever had at taking charges.

“My role is leadership and keeping the intensity and keeping us focused on what our main goal is — to win a state championship,” Godwin said.

A different kind of big three exists in guards Carson, Dempsey and Lynn. They play their roles of key reserves to perfection; handling the ball mistake-free, scoring points when needed and playing stout defense.

“That trio have really contributed throughout the season,” Durden said. “They only average around five points each per game, but when you put those points together, it’s huge for us.”

And then there’s 5-foot-8 Audrey Dorsey.

Dorsey comes in on the front of Buford’s infamous 1-2-2 full-court press to replace the 6-3 Alverson.
It’s a one-two punch that starts with the insurmountable feat of getting around Alverson’s wingspan and finishes with the
cumbersome task of eluding the quick and aggressive nature of Dorsey.

“Audrey (Dorsey) is not going to make mistakes,” Durden said. “She works so hard on the front of the press for us and also gives us that change of pace.”

“We feel like she is one of the most fundamental players we have.”

Consistent scorers plus unselfishly consistent role players have made Buford a force to be reckoned thus far, and it should be no different in Macon.

Finish that off with the want-to and leadership of the Lady Wolves’ eight seniors, and leaving without beating Laney, much less a state title is inconceivable.

“Winning state would mean everything to us,” Carson said. “It would mean that we did everything we could do, achieved everything we could in our time here.

“But mainly it would mean that all the hardwork paid off.”

“Our team is just that, a team,” Durden said. “We have some high-profile kids, but these other girls are just as high-profile in our eyes.

“There’s no jealousy about who scores the points, as long as we’re getting the job done.”
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