HOUSTON - The Norcross boys used a smothering defensive effort and an 11-4 overtime run to dispatch of Rice (N.Y.) 60-53 in the first round of the Academy National Invitational in Houston on Thursday.
Gani Lawal led the way with 22 points and nine rebounds for the Blue Devils, who improve to 8-1 on the year with the win. Al-Farouq Aminu added 19 points and 14 rebounds for Norcross, which shot 46 percent from the floor (22 of 48), but just 16 of 30 from the free-throw line and 0-for-11 from 3-point range.
However the real story on Thursday was the Norcross defense, which held Rice to just 32 percent shooting from the floor (19 of 60). The Blue Devils, ranked No. 17 by USA Today, also outrebounded Rice 40-22 in the win.
Chris Fouch led Rice with 23 points and Jeff Harris finished with 12 points and six assists, but was hounded into just 5 of 18 on his field goal attempts.
With the win, Norcross advances to a second-round game today against St. Patrick's (N.J.), which is ranked No. 2 in the nation by USA Today. St. Patrick's defeated Hastings (Tex.) 77-68 on Wednesday.
Franklin County 67, GAC 60
JACKSON COUNTY - Taylor Wood scored 29 points and grabbed 19 rebounds for GAC, but the Spartans fell to Franklin County 67-60 on Thursday in the Jackson County high school tournament.
Demario Mayfield scored 21 points for Franklin County.
Buford 64, Gainesville 61
BUFORD - John Overton scored 15 points for Buford to help the Wolves defeat Gainesville 64-61.
Terrance Birdette scored 13 points while David Hendrix added eight points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Buford's overall record improves to 8-0.
Wesleyan 48, Hampton Roads 37
ATLANTA - Tanner Smith scored 25 points for Wesleyan to help the Wolves top Hampton Roads Academy (Va.) 48-37 in the Westminster Christmas Tournament on Thursday.
Wesleyan's next game is today against Lovett at 4:30 p.m. at Westminster.
Loganville 60, Hillgrove 45
MADISON - Clivins Volcy had 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead Loganville to a 60-45 win over Hillgrove on Thursday at the Sweet South Classic. The Red Devils are now 8-2.
Greater Gwinnett 75, George Walton 45
WALL HALLA, S.C. - Greater Gwinnett Christian's J.D. Davis had 27 points, four steals and four assists to help the Barons top George Walton 75-45 in the Apple Classic on Thursday.
Edward Jackson scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had six steals while Jared Martz had 10 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks. Greater Gwinnett's record is now 12-2.
Duluth 64, Stephens County 62
HARTWELL - Duluth came from 16 down in the fourth quarter to defeat Stephens County 64-62 in the DQ Classic in Hartwell on Thursday.
Mykala Walker led Duluth with 20 points while Ravven Brown scored 15 points for the Wildcats. Daphne Adebayho added 13 points. Breona Udofia hit a layup as time expired for the win.
Duluth's record is now 7-4.
Shiloh 57, Hart County 52
HARTWELL- Jessica Baker had 20 points, five assists and five steals to lead Shiloh to a 57-52 win over Hart County on Thursday in the DQ Classic.
Caneisha Bell had 11 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and six steals while Amanda Parker added 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Brooke Lane scored 10 points for Shiloh, whose overall record goes to 7-2.
Dacula 45, Harlan 41
FT. WALTON, FLA. - Eve Machovec scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Dacula over Harlan 45-31 Thursday in the Playground Area tournament in Fort Walton, Fla.
Abbie Daniel added 13 points for Dacula as the Falcons improved their record to 5-6.
Wesleyan 71, Blessed Trinity 41
ATLANTA - Anne Marie Armstrong scored 24 points for Wesleyan to help top Blessed Trinity 71-41 in the Westminster Holiday Classic on Thursday.
Sarah Delk scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Wesleyan to help improve its record to 9-2.
Wesleyan's next game is today at 3 p.m. vs. Woodward Academy.
Gainesville 49, Buford 37
BUFORD - Victoria Peevy scored 10 points for Buford, but the Wolves fell to Gainesville 49-37 on Thursday.
Wesleyan splits with AAAAA power
NORCROSS - Wesleyan's swimming and diving teams held their own with Class AAAAA power Chattahoochee, including a victory over the Cougars' in boys competition.
The Wolves won the boys division 172-132 over Chattahoochee, last season's AAAAA runner-up. The Cougars won the girls meet by a 168-144 margin.
Wesleyan's race winners for the boys squad were: Lawrence Buckley in the 200 freestyle (1 minute, 50.48 seconds) and 100 free (50.33), Kyle Buckley in diving (151.40), Grant Smith in the 500 free (5:13.38)
First-place finishers for the Wesleyan girls were: Meg Reynolds in the 50 free (25.20) and 100 free (55.26), Abby Nelson in diving (182.30), Jordan Jackson in the 100 butterfly (1:01.34)
- From staff reports