Posted: 10:52 pm Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
By Stan Awtrey
There are a lot of similarities between the Buford and St. Pius girls, which should make for an outstanding championship game on Saturday.
Each team revolves around two outstanding individual players, with a supporting cast that knows its role and is willing to stick with their plans.
St. Pius (29-3) has perhaps the best tandem of guards in the state in Asia Durr, who may be the best player in Georgia, and Jasmine Carter, who is headed to the University of Georgia. Durr is so good that Carter sometimes gets overshadowed or forgotten, which would be a mistake. (Just ask semifinal opponent Beach.)
The Golden Lions also make good use of Hannah Jones, Nicole Rodriguez, Anna Nelson, Sally Varner, Miah Allen, Gabby Burns, Courtney Tuttle, Anna Daves and Obi Okafor. None of that group averages more than four points, but they’ve all proven to be reliable pieces of the puzzle.
Buford (30-2) has an outstanding guard in Camille Anderson, who was named the Region 7-AAA player of the year. Anderson, a junior, has already committed to N.C. State and is a force at running the offense as well as providing those gut-busting 3-pointers. And the Wolves have a center that few others in AAA can match in 6-foot-5 Bree Horrocks, whose long arms are shot-blocking machines or obstacles that must be avoided. Plus, Horrocks has nice hands and is more than capable of hitting the mid-range jumper.
Buford has plenty of additional contributors, too Corey Staples has bounced back from a knee injury. Taylor Ozment can run the offense at point guard, which gives Anderson the flexibility to move to two-guard. Tara Dambach, Caitlyn Dawkins, Ceely Coker and Chandler Hall are contributors, too.
More than anything else these two teams know how to play defense. Buford knows how to press the opposition into submission and keep the opponent off the scoreboard. Only four teams have scored 50 points against the Wolves this year: AAA semifinalist Morgan County had 51 in the season opener, Class A private finalist Southwest Atlanta Christian had 55, Fannin County had 50 on Jan. 3, and Class AA finalist Wesleyan had 61.
The St. Pius defense is nasty, too. The Golden Lions like to play a fierce brand of man-to-man defense and has allowed 50 or only twice during its current 18-game winning streak.
Both teams have excellent coaches. Buford’s Gene Durden and St. Pius’ Kyle Snipes know how to get their teams ready and understand how to prepare for the big game.
There’s plenty of motivation to go around for this one, too. Buford was eliminated by St. Pius a year ago, while Pius is aiming for back-to-back championships.
It has the makings of a masterpiece.