No. 2 Shiloh beats No. 5 Buford in boys showdown

Coach Kim Rivers talks to his team during a timeout in the game against Buford on Jan. 18, 2022. No. 3 Shiloh won the game 53-43 in Snellville.

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Coach Kim Rivers talks to his team during a timeout in the game against Buford on Jan. 18, 2022. No. 3 Shiloh won the game 53-43 in Snellville.

The Shiloh boys continue to show that good old-fashioned defense can still win basketball games.

The Class 6A No. 2-ranked Generals put the clamps on No. 5 Buford on Tuesday for 53-43 win that put them in first place in Region 6-6A. This despite the graduation of their best player from last year’s 20-7 team and the defection of several others who sought greener pastures.

“We did a great job on the defensive end to set the tone,” Shiloh coach Kim Rivers said. “To hold that team to 43 points was great for our guys. We did a good job and they still scored some key baskets to keep the game close.”

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Shiloh (15-0, 6-0) was led by Trevon Payton with 19 points, including three 3-pointers, and D.J. Leak, who scored 13, including a pair of treys.

Buford (14-4, 5-1) got 16 from Jaylon Taylor, 13 from Landon Williams and 12 from Malachi Brown.

Seryl Slater drained two 3s and Brown made another in Shiloh’s 15-4 run to finish the first quarter. Buford played from the behind the rest of the game but made it a six-point margin at the end of three quarters.

“We had that little cushion, six to eight points, that they weren’t able to overcome,” Rivers said. “That was the key that we weren’t allowing them to make a run and make it a one- or two-point game.”

Shiloh led by 11 early in the final quarter when Buford cut the lead to 45-39. Shiloh then missed a dunk and had a breakaway layup blocked on a strong defensive play, but Buford could not take advantage and Shiloh regained control on a basket and two free throws by Zaron Jackson, who scored nine, to rebuild the lead to 10.

“We’re a better second-half team usually,” Rivers said. “They did a good job in the second half. We only allowed like 20 points in the second half. I was chewing my boys out about the points they did score because I think there were some points down low that we could have done a better job on defensively. But overall, these kids are learning the game and I could be mad at them, but in reality they played a helluva game.”

The No. 3 Buford girls (14-3) had no trouble with Shiloh and rolled to a 57-14 win. The Wolves used their all-out blitzing defense for the first half and wound up creating 32 turnovers, including 19 steals. The overmatched Generals did not score in the second quarter and didn’t get their first basket of the third quarter until 2:40 remaining.

Buford was led by Jayla Gudz with 15, Tatum Ozment with 12 and Ava Watson with nine.