SWD girls fall to Buford in Class 5A title game
The Southwest DeKalb Lady Panthers could not get past Buford’s full-court press defense and were unsuccessful in defending their state title.
The Buford Lady Wolves defeated Southwest DeKalb 60-42 in the Class AAAAA championship game March 8 at the Stegeman Coliseum in Athens. The Lady Panthers are now 5-3 in championship games in program history under coach Kathy Walton.
Despite the loss, Walton said she told her players that she is still proud of what they accomplished this season.
“A lot of teams would have loved to be in this position,” she said. “Unfortunately, we waited until this game to not to play well, to not play our best and it’s not one of those games you want to lose but sometimes you learn more from a loss than you do from a win. As the seniors move forward to the next level, when the returners come back [this] will be a lesson learned and let’s not let this situation repeat itself.”
The Lady Panthers struggled from tipoff against Buford’s defense. Southwest DeKalb turned the ball over 18 times and Buford scored 25 points off those turnovers. The Lady Panthers only scored six points off Buford’s 12 turnovers.
Walton said her team knew Buford was going to play the full-court press defense.
“We knew it. They have played that press all year long,” she said. “We saw three to four tapes on the press, but I think each one of [the players] didn’t have the confidence to execute what we had worked on.”
The Lady Panthers shot 41.9 percent from the field, but was 0-for-6 from the three-point arch. Buford had no trouble hitting three-pointers, hitting 47.1 percent of their three’s. Walton said they tried everything defensively to contain Buford’s three-point shooting.
“We tried several defenses but again we just didn’t execute our game plan,” she said.
Senior Ogheneruona Uwusiaba led Southwest DeKalb with a double-double of 16 points and 16 rebounds. Senior Jada Walton scored 13 points and had six rebounds.
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