TOLEDO – Toledo Libbey’s William Buford played his last game on the floor of Libbey High School Friday and a crowd of approximately 2,000 saw a performance that typifies why he is considered one of Ohio’s best high school basketball players. Leading his league leading Cowboy teammates to a surprisingly easy 83-51 victory, Buford registered a triple-double by scoring 19 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds.
The senior dominated Waite Indians came into the contest with high hopes. They were hoping to upset the Cowboys and thereby assure themselves a City League playoff spot. Their loss to Libbey does not eliminate them from playoff consideration and they still control their own destiny but the loss was tough to take nonetheless.
“It’s amazing,” said Waite coach Dave Pitsenbarger. “I thought we did a good job on Buford in the first half and I turn around and Wells (Libbey’s Julius Wells) suddenly has 15. They have so many weapons.”
The Waite Indians have enjoyed success this season by running an up-tempo offense and they came into their game with Libbey determined to run with the Cowboys but it proved to be their undoing. The Cowboys were quite simply to fast, too big and too talented for the Indians.
In the first half Waite managed to stay within striking distance of Libbey and were as close as 9 points late in the second half before the Cowboys took charge. Using a 10-1 run, the Cowboys placed some distance between themselves and the Indians.
The teams retired to their respective locker rooms with Libbey leading 44-24. It was as close as the Indians would come the remainder of the evening.
“It was just a matter that our feet were quicker, our arms were longer and we jumped higher,” said Libbey coach Leroy Bates. “The guys were energized by the fact that [the Indians] were scoring, and we had to do something on the offensive end, too.”
Buford’s triple-double was only a small part of Libbey’s success against Waite. Three other Cowboys also had good scoring nights as Julius Wells had 18, Brad Sandridge 14 and Brad Burton 11. Well also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds.
On a positive note for the Indians, senior guard Khari Riley became the first boys player in the long Waite Indian history to reach the 1,000 point plateau. Riley’s 15 points last night put his career total at 1004. Joining Riley in double figures was fellow senior Robert Jackson with 10.
Libbey enters the final week of the regular season with an overall record of 14-2 and a league leading record of 9-1. Waite, meanwhile, falls to 7-3 in the league and 12-4 overall.
Despite his team’s thirty point victory Libbey coach Leroy Bates was not totally impressed with his team’s effort.
“If ten is the scale, we’re playing at about an eight out of ten. We need to begin playing thirty-two minutes of basketball. When we do I will be satisfied.”