Saturday night belonged to Jerry Davis.
Gainesville’s longtime coach hit career win No. 700 with a 63-46 victory against Buford on Saturday night in Gainesville. The Red Elephants (11-9) took the weekend to honor Davis, who’s coached over four decades with the Red Elephants, bringing back many of his past players for a ceremony Friday night to honor his achievement.
Davis says becoming only the third boys basketball coach in the state of Georgia to reach No. 700 was made even more special reaching the plateau in front of the home crowd.
"This milestone is a tribute to a lot of good players and assistant coaches I’ve been able to work with," Davis said. "But it’s good to get this out of the way so we can focus on playing basketball the rest of the season."
Players and coaches alike have been surrounded with the preparation for Davis’ 700th win. A banner hung from the walkway this season at the top of the basketball court with a countdown to No. 700.
And after the game cheerleaders tore down the banner and players posed for pictures with their coach.
"It feels great to be able to be able to win this game for coach Davis," Gainesville junior Andy Edmondson said. "We really wanted to win this game for him."
"This team will be remembered for this win," Red Elephant sophomore Ty Redmon said.
The players didn’t let all the celebration get in the way of their responsibilities on the court. It was a good week for the Red Elephants picking up Region 7B-AAA wins against West Forsyth and then against Pickens on Friday.
The wins came at a clutch time with two more subregion games on the road this week against Johnson and West Hall.
"It’s nice to carry this momentum into the rest of the season," Redmon added.
Saturday’s non-region win against Class AA’s Wolves (6-13) was a product of a 24-3 run in the third quarter. Gainesville’s George Manomano hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the opening 1:50 of the second half to push the Red Elephants’ lead to 43-20. Manomano led the team in scoring with 15 and Allan Dockery added nine.
Jeramie Moore led the Wolves in scoring with 17 points and Bo Freer added eight. Buford is now on an eight-game losing streak.
Gainesville visits West Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Buford visits Avondale at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Buford girls 37, Gainesville 31
Buford junior post player Blanche Alverson lived up to her billing as a major college prospect by hitting four three pointers on her way to 23 points in a battle of two state ranked teams Saturday night in Gainesville.
Alverson took control of the Class AA No. 4-ranked Lady Wolves (16-4) offense hitting a 3-pointer with 4:58 left in the third quarter to push their lead to 28-24. Before the end of the third quarter she added two more baskets, including a jump shot off of a spin move in the lane.
"Blanche is a great shooter and can change the complexion of the game," Lady Wolves coach Gene Durden said.
Jocelyn Danley added eight points for Buford.
Kiki Thompson and Taylor Ricketts each scored six points to lead the Class AAA No. 8-ranked Red Elephants (16-5) after sophomore post Jaymee Carnes left the game with a knee injury in the second half. The severity of Carnes’ injury wasn’t known following the game, according to Lady Red Elephants coach Manson Hill.
"We have nothing but respect for Gainesville and really enjoy getting to play each other," Durden added. "It makes both of our teams better to get to play each other."
Buford visits Avondale at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Gainesville visits West Hall at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Oakwood.