Gainesville boys win at Buchholz in OT

The Gainesville boys basketball team huddles during their game against Buchholz Friday night.
The Gainesville boys basketball team huddles during their game against Buchholz Friday night.
Mike Ridaught

On Friday night at sold out Bud Seymour Gymnasium, the Gainesville boys basketball team extended their streak against rival Buchholz with a 64-56 overtime win on the road.

The visiting Hurricanes (6-5) received a team effort as five players scored in double figures to give GHS its 12th straight win in the series. The ‘Canes have also won 26 of the last 29.

Senior Justus Wilburn scored eight of his team-high 14 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. 

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Justus Wilburn

“It’s always the best win,” said Wilburn, who has yet to lose to the Bobcats. “I’ve been on varsity for three years and it’s always a great win.”

Junior Daryus Boyd came off the bench to score 13, while sophomore Theo Stevens, freshman Kameron Wright, and sophomore Saladeen (SJ) Westbrook scored 10 points each.

“Well obviously the way the season’s been going with COVID and everything else, we’re very happy to get the win,” said Gainesville coach Kelly Beckham. “And it was a hard-fought game, you have to give Buchholz credit, knocked down a bunch of 3’s but our guys really battled and I’m real proud of them.”

Buchholz (2-5) was led in scoring by Matthew Willenborg with 16 points. The sophomore hit a three with less than 40 seconds to play in regulation to tie the game at 54-54 and send it into overtime. 

Junior Aamari Reeves added 15 points off the bench.

“They made plays at the end of the game,” said first-year Buchholz coach George Atohi. “They were beating us on the boards all night. It started to really affect us then.”

Despite the loss, Atohi was pleased with his team.

“I love the way my team competes,” Atohi said. “I love the effort that they bring. We’ve been in every single game we’ve played except Vanguard, where we hadn’t played in a month.”

After being down 29-24 at the half, Buchholz outscored GHS 17-11 in the third quarter to take a 41-40 lead into the final quarter. However, the Bobcats were outscored 10-2 in the overtime period.

Beckham said there was one thing in particular that changed the game.

“Well, late in the game it was our defense,” he said. “We turned them over a few times and were able to go down and get some key baskets.” 

Atohi said his team is definitely making strides.

“I told them in the locker room, ‘you guys should be hurt,’ but the fact of the matter is we’re a really hard playing team and we have a couple of things we need to clean up,” Atohi said. “We’re just the little things away. I feel like my team will figure it out.”

Gainesville will host Bradford (Starke) on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., while Buchholz will travel to Eastside on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. for another city showdown.

“A city game is a city game,” explained Athoi. “You throw the records out. We have to go to their place and play them. I’ve got to figure out a way for us to handle them on the glass and find a way to stop Jarvy (Gainey).”

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