NORCROSS - After his team's first round playoff game against Etowah, Norcross coach Chris Bess told his players he thought they were the better team.
The scoreboard did not agree.
After grabbing an early two-goal lead, Norcross crumbled down the stretch and lost a crushing game 3-2 to Etowah.
"We broke down fundamentally," Bess said. "Things we haven't done all season; losing our marks and not finishing opportunities."
Norcross (11-7) struck first in the third minute when Jeffrey Twum found teammate Kevin Kinney with a chip pass in the box that Kinney kicked in for a 1-0 lead.
Norcross added to its lead when Twum found Kinney with a cross that Kinney tucked in the lower right corner to make it 2-0 in the 15th minute.
Even with the two-goal advantage, Bess was not satisfied with the play of his squad.
"Even with a two-goal lead we weren't playing our game, our athleticism was winning out a little bit, but we didn't play well tonight all truth be told," he said
Etowah (12-3) had a number of chances in the Norcross zone but was unable to convert until Mark Lowery found Jordan Miramonti in the box following a corner kick to cut its deficit to 2-1 in the 38th minute. The score would remain the same for the rest of the half.
With Norcross nursing a one-goal lead, Etowah found itself in the Norcross box on numerous occasions but was unable to tie the game.
However in the 70th minute, Etowah's Omar Lopez took advantage of an opportunity when he rebounded a blocked shot and tucked it in the corner, tying the game at two and seemingly deflating Norcross in the process.
Five minutes later a header by Cam Miller gave Etowah a 3-2 lead after Norcross failed to convert a chance just minutes earlier.
"They wanted it more than we did," Bess said. "There were times and stretches when we had them there, but you can't have down time."
Unfortunately, Norcross will have plenty of down time to ponder what could have happened in this year's playoffs.