Devils' runs down Lions

NORCROSS - Norcross doesn't mess up twice.

The Blue Devils shot out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter, not allowing Peachtree Ridge to score for the first 10:43 of the basketball game Tuesday, but over the final 1:17 that 13-0 lead dwindled to 13-6.

Eventually, the Lions would cut the lead to two.

"I felt like we got off to a good start, we lost focus, we didn't play every possession hard and let them get back in the ball game and they did a good job of doing that," Norcross head coach Eddie Martin said. "I think our kids refocused at half time."

And Norcross never lost focus again.

The Blue Devils scored the first 12 points of the third quarter, outscoring the Lions 26-6 as they won easily 64-29.

In the third quarter, only one Peachtree Ridge (11-8, 7-4 Region 7-AAAAA) player, Cory Blackwell, scored, the Lions turned the ball over eight times and the Blue Devils' (16-1, 12-0 region) star Al-Farouq Aminu opened and closed the quarter with a dunk.

"The way Norcross plays defense, they force you into mistakes," Peachtree Ridge head coach Gerald Arnold said. "They force you to play the way they want to play."

Only four Lions scored on the night, with the freshman Blackwell leading the way with 12, followed by Adrian Hubbard, a sophomore, with nine.

"Both guys are getting better and better," Arnold said.

Blackwell and Hubbard scored all of Peachtree Ridge's 12 second half points as Norcross never gave the Lions a chance to make a run. For three of the four quarters, Peachtree Ridge didn't score more than six points.

"That's pretty good defense, right there," Martin said.

Offensively, Aminu led all scorers with 20 points, after just eight in the first half, and also pulled down 10 rebounds for a double-double.

Along with Aminu, Denzail Jones and A.J. Hawkins played well, combining for 24 points. Jones hit a pair of 3s as part of the first quarter 13-0 run and Hawkins filled the paint for the Blue Devils, pulling down seven rebounds.

"They should be playing within theirselves and knowing their role and knowing what they are supposed to be doing, and I think we do," Martin said.

Hawkins scored six of his 12 points as part of the Blue Devils' second-half run and help slow down the inside came of the Lions.

"We definitely knew we didn't want them (coming back) again," Hawkins said.

And they didn't. Norcross had learned its lesson.

"If we'll learn not to lose focus, not to take a possession off and to play hard, we become a pretty good ball club," Martin said. "We have to play 32 minutes. We can't play 20 minutes. We have to play 32 minutes hard."