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BUFORD (GA) – The Cedar Shoals Jaguars had just one loss entering their rematch with Buford. The Wolves made them look much worse.
Behind the hot shooting of Sebastian Augustave (30 points) and versatility of Caleb Williams (17 points, seven assists, five rebounds), Buford jumped ahead of Cedar Shoals early and didn’t let up on the way to a 73-49 home win in a Region 8-AAAAA battle on January 24.
Both teams entered the contest on winning streaks. The Wolves had four straight wins and Cedar Shoals had reeled off 15 straight, including a 67-61 victory against Buford on January 7, but one streak would cease to exist and the Wolves made it easy to see in the first quarter that their winning ways would continue.
“We shot the ball better here,” Buford coach Eddie Martin said. “The second thing was I think we did a better job of keeping them from getting inside points on us. They hurt us badly in the paint down at their place. I felt like our kids are gaining confidence and they played well together tonight.”
“[This win] means a lot,” Williams said. “That is a good ball club. We knew what they were going to do. We had a good game plan and I got to thank the coaches for that.”
After the Jaguars scored the first four points of the game, Buford responded with a 20-2 run. The game-changing moment for the Wolves was a 13-0 run ignited by Augustave, who nailed the first of his six 3-pointers. Then Jaylon Taylor (14 points, seven rebounds, four blocks) converted a layup on a pass from Caleb Blackwell (five assists).
To keep the momentum going, Williams added a jumper and a layin then Taylor made the volume increase in the gym by blocking a jumpshot and finishing the play with a breakaway two-handed dunk. Williams found London Williams for a layup to cap the run.
Buford entered the second quarter ahead 25-9 and halftime 40-17. Augustave and Caleb Williams both had 12 points at the break.
In the second half while the Wolves maintained a comfortable double-digit lead, Augustave had more success moving without the ball which led to successful catch-and-shoot opportunities while Williams continued to have success getting to the basket and making the right pass.
“[Caleb’s] the one player back from our team last year,” Martin said. “We had 11 seniors last year. He was a part-time starter for us last year and played a lot so we threw a lot at him early. He had to carry us and now some of these other players are stepping up. It’s making his game easier because now they are contributing more.”
“At practice my coach always tells me to move and at home my dad always tells me to cut, move around and get open to get different shots,” Augustave said.
To counter Cedar Shoals’ increased offensive output, Augustave went on a personal scoring surge in the third, racking up 10 consecutive points (a layup after a block and long outlet pass from Williams, a jumper and spot-up 3s on passes from Williams). Augustave drained another deep 3-pointer just before the end of the third period, resulting in 60-34 score.
“I’m very blessed,” Augustave said. “My teammates found me and all of the hard work in the gym is finally paying off.”
“[Sebastian’s] a knockdown shooter,” Martin said. “When he is shooting it with confidence and not having to rush his shot I feel as good about him making it as anybody out there.”
“We’ve been playing together for a long time so I know where [Sebastian] is on the court at all times,” Caleb Williams said.
Quincy Canty had the best scoring output for the Jaguars, notching 19 points to go along with nine rebounds. Kashik Brown added 12 points in Cedar Shoals, which also lost its first region contest.
“This is a big victory for us,” Augustave said. “We are just going to keep building off of it for our chemistry and brotherhood.”