Class AAAAA blog: Buford, Eagle’s Landing in non-region showdown

It’s not really playoff time – that’s still a month away – but it will seem like the postseason on Saturday when Eagle’s Landing plays a big non-region game at Buford. Both boys teams and both girls teams are highly ranked, leaving this game with a certain playoff feel. 

The girls game begins at 4 p.m. and features No. 1-ranked Buford, the two-time defending state champions, against No. 4 Eagle’s Landing. The boys game will follow at 5:30 p.m. and features No. 1-ranked Buford against the No. 4 Golden Eagles. 

Both teams have league games on Friday. Buford hosts Loganville and Eagle’s Landing plays at Woodland. 

“We’re looking forward to it,” Buford boys coach Eddie Martin said. “it’s one of those things where it should be a good test and hope it will make both of us better. We were both looking for a game and we were fortunate enough to be able to work it out.”

The Buford girls defeated Eagle’s Landing 50-37 in the third round of the playoffs last year. 

The Buford girls take a 14-1 record into the weekend and are in first place in Region 8. Coach Gene Durden’s team has won seven straight games. Their only loss came against Class AAAAAAA No. 4 Norcross in the Naismith Invitational. Buford returns starters Tate Walters, Ebony Grant and Casey Jones from last year’s championship team.

Eagle’s Landing began the weekend 12-3 and is 8-0 in Region 4. The girls have won four straight since losing to West Orange (Fla.) in the Tampa Bay Christmas Invitational. Coach Karshaun Peterson’s team is led by the Double J’s – Jalisa Dunlap (12.8 points) and Jaleah Storr (12.9 points). 

The Buford boys enter the weekend with a 15-1 record and hold the top spot in Region 8 at 3-0. Their only loss came in the Arby’s Classic against Carmel Christian of Matthew, N.C., which is 21-1 and ranked No. 19 in the nation. The Wolves are led by Oklahoma State signee Marcus Watson and all-state candidates Donell Nixon and Eric Coleman. 

Eagle’s Landing began the weekend 13-3 and leads Region 4 at 8-0. They have won four straight since dropping a one-point decision to Alexander in the Lake City Classic. The Golden Eagles are led by Christopher Hood, who was named to the Lake City Classic All-Tournament team over the holidays. 

Eagle’s Landing will have a tough region game on Friday prior to meeting Buford. The Golden Eagles will meet Woodland (13-3, 5-1), the second-place team. Eagle’s Landing won the first meeting 62-53 onNov. 30. 

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