Championship Preview: Boys Class AAA

Photo by Ty Freeman


27-5, REGION 7

Buford has been always known for its football program as it has won a total of 10 state titles since 1978. However, the boys basketball team is not bad either and the Wolves are one win away from winning their first state crown in program history. Head coach Allen Whitehart took over the program back in 2011 after spending four seasons as the head coach at Centennial. Whitehart has installed a blue-collar work ethic and a team-first mentality to the program which has led the Wolves to 20 or more wins in each of the last two seasons.

This season,the Wolves were battled tested early with losses to Miller Grove, Tift County, North Gwinnett and their state championship game opponent, Morgan County. But once January arrived, the losses to higher classification teams paid off because the Wolves have not lost a game since.Why have the Wolves been successful? One of the reasons is the play of senior forward Rakim Lubin, who will play for UConn next year. Lubin has been huge for the Wolves in the playoffs, scoring 37 points in the semifinals against Callaway. Lubin also had 12 rebounds and four blocked shots in the win.

Before the season began, Lubin, who is a transfer from Gadsden City (Ala.) and averaged 19 points last year, was expected to do big things this season according to Whitehart. Another player to watch for is sophomore guard D’Marcus Simonds who scored 30 points in the Callaway game and pulled down 13 rebounds and blocked three shots. Both Lubin and Simonds have exchanged big games all season long. Whitehart said the team goes as far as Lubin and Simonds takes them and that’s why they are in the position to win a state crown for the first time in Wolves history.




25-5, REGION 8

When the 2012-13 state tournament began, Morgan County was one of the favorites to win the state title because the Bulldogs were outscoring their opponents by 20 points per game. However, the Bulldogs’ dream of winning their first state title was cut short in the second round by North Hall. Head coach Charlemagne Gibbons thought the loss to North Hall was a good thing because it helped this year’s team be more focused during the regular season and the playoffs. What’s amazing about the Bulldogs making it to the state championship is they lost six seniors from last year’s team. But they have two key players that have helped the Bulldogs win 25 games.

Senior forward C.J. Turman scored 13 points in the semifinals and has averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds per game this season. He will play college basketball at Tennessee. Junior guard Tookie Brown has averaged 25 points per game and scored 26 points in the semifinal game against Johnson-Savannah. Brown has verbally committed to Mississippi State. Turman and Brown have been able to lead the Bulldogs to the finals, but the role players are another reason they Bulldogs are in position to be on top of Class AAA.

Senior guard Davon Gibbs has also provided leadership while some of the young players like sophomore forward Jailyn Ingram and sophomore guard Dee Dee Reynolds have been matchup problems for opponents all season long. Gibbons said after the semifinal win that Gibbs is one of the best defensive players in the state. Gibbons also said that more people should recognize Brown as one of the best players in the state. Morgan County will be playing in its first state title game since 1990. That year, the Bulldogs lost to Mitchell-Baker at the Macon Coliseum.

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