The Fight for Region 8-7A continues as Buford gets ready to host red-hot Dacula

Photo Courtesy of Coby Durden

Buford (20-3, 8-0) is undefeated, four games ahead in the Region 8 standings and entering the final week of the regular season, the Wolves are rolling.

The program’s three losses were to Class 6A No. 6 Newton 64-60 on Dec. 2, Class 3A No. 1 Sandy Creek 66-60 on Dec. 22 and to Tennessee’s Providence Christian 62-48 on Dec. 30.

Buford hasn’t lost since.

The team will face two region key games this weekend against Collins Hill (14-9, 4-4) Friday and Dacula (17-6, 4-4) Saturday. Both rematch games, Buford defeated Collins Hill 86-49 at home on Jan. 16 and beat Dacula 59-47 on Jan. 19 on the road. The Wolves’ are ranked No. 6 in the MaxPreps standings in Georgia and ranked No. 7 in Class 7A in the latest Score Atlanta poll.

The Wolves are undefeated through Region 8-7A play and will look to continue the streak Friday against a 13-7 Collins Hill team who is currently tied for second in the region at 4-4. Buford’s path to the No. 1 seed from the league will have to be decided in the region tournament, but the Wolves are riding momentum entering the fray.

As comfortable as Buford may be, the rest of Region 8-7A is still wide open – with Central Gwinnett (10-12, 3-5), Mill Creek (9-14, 2-6), Mountain View (12-11, 3-5), Dacula and Collins Hill in the running.

The team has participated in two tournaments this season, starting on November 22 when the Wolves played in the Sprayberry Thanksgiving Tournament, beating the Sprayberry Yellow Jackets 64-53 in the finals.

The team also traveled to Tampa Bay to play in the Tampa Bay Christmas Invitational. The trip ended in heartbreaking fashion however, as Buford fell short in the finals, losing 62-48 against Tennessee’s Providence Christian Academy. But senior guard Brennan Wansley made the bracket’s All-Tournament Team, the only player from Georgia to do so.

Dacula, however, is a team which has been on the rise. After a disappointing 6-20 record last season, first-year head coach Derrick Herbert has turned the program around, leading the Falcons to a 17-6 record.

Dacula has competed in multiple tournaments this season, including the Double Trouble Showcase, where it won 46-38 over Grovetown in the finals. The Falcons continued to succeed in the Island Beach Blowout in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, where they went 2-1. Behind the tremendous senior leadership of guard Jaden Mattison and forward Elahi Akida, the Falcons have made themselves legitimate contenders in Region 8-7A.

Mattison has been dominant this season, averaging 16 points, four rebounds, and four assists per game, while Akida has been a force in the paint, averaging 13 rebounds and two blocks per game. Akida’s ability to command the court has led him to breaking the single-season rebounding record for Dacula with 286 rebounds and counting, breaking the previous record of 259.


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