Prep Hoops Notes: New test awaits

Norcross lost to Oak Hill Academy last season in a basketball game at Georgia Tech. On Saturday, the Blue Devils could get another shot at the defending boys national champion.

The Mountain State Coal Classic in Beckley, W.Va., is set up for Norcross and the famed Virginia basketball power to meet for the title of its national tournament.

Oak Hill isn't as powerful as it was last season, when it went 40-1. But the Warriors are still nationally ranked and feature one of the top guards in the country in Brandon Jennings, who is averaging 34 points and headed to Arizona.

To get a rematch with Oak Hill, Norcross must get past Veritas Christian - one of the nation's tallest teams - on Friday. The North Carolina school is led by 7-foot-2 Clemson recruit Catalin Baciu, one of four players 6-foot-8 or better.

Oak Hill's semifinal game on Friday is against Roanoke Catholic of Virginia.

Two-time defending Class AAAAA state champion Norcross (18-1) is ranked No. 9 by Sports Illustrated, No. 13 by USA Today and No. 15 by Rivals.com. Seven-time national champion Oak Hill (22-3) is ranked No. 5 by Rivals.com, No. 13 by Sports Illustrated and No. 19 by USA Today. Norcross and Oak Hill each play once against top West Virginia teams before entering the four-team national tournament. Oak Hill plays host Beckley on Wednesday and Norcross faces Bridgeport on Thursday.

The only loss for Norcross this season came at the Amare Stoudemire Invitational in Florida, when it was beaten by Lakeland Kathleen.

Steve Smith has won more than 700 games as Oak Hill's coach and the Warriors are again one of the nation's most talented teams despite losing three top seniors from last year and Howard Thompkins, who transferred back to Wesleyan after one season.

Savannah loses first game

Norcross doesn't have to worry about not being ranked No. 1 when the new GaSports.com coaches poll comes out today. Savannah, which slipped ahead of the Blue Devils last week, lost its first game on Saturday, falling 71-69 at Mundy's Mill. The Blue Jackets had been the last unbeaten team in Class AAAAA.

Todd Salter scored 26 points for Mundy's Mill (17-4). Kevin Williams had 25 points for Savannah (16-1).

No. 1 Mill Creek girls at Duluth

When the Duluth girls almost won at Mill Creek on Dec. 14, it looked like the Wildcats were ready to go on a roll. The young team has had ups and downs since, however.

Duluth lost to Cherokee in the first round of the Powerade Festival after Christmas and began January by losing three of five games before winning its past two. The Wildcats get another shot at No. 1 Mill Creek tonight, this time at home. But they need to do a better job controlling Mill Creek point guard Porsha Porter, who had a big game in the earlier 65-61 Hawks win.

Mill Creek is 19-1 overall and 13-0 in Region 7-AAAAA. Duluth is 15-6 and 9-4.

Big week for Parkview

The Parkview boys can take a big step toward winning the regular-season title in Region 8-AAAAA this week. The Panthers host second-place Berkmar tonight and play at third-place Meadowcreek on Friday.

Parkview, 16-4 overall and 8-1 in the region, edged Berkmar 63-62 on the road Jan. 8 and lost at home to Meadowcreek 64-56 on Jan. 11. Berkmar (13-4) is 7-1 in the region and Meadowcreek (13-6) is 6-2.

The Parkview girls also have a key game with Berkmar tonight. The first-place Panthers (17-3) are 8-1 in the region and Berkmar (16-3) is tied for second at 6-2.

Wesleyan girls streaking

With a victory over winless Cross Keys tonight, the No. 1 Wesleyan girls will take a 16-game winning streak into Friday's game against Greater Atlanta Christian for first place in Region 6-AA South.

The Wolves (18-2) haven't lost since Dec. 1, when they fell to North Carolina power Bishop McGuinness 54-50.

Wesleyan's streak is the longest in Gwinnett County. The Parkview girls had won 15 straight before falling to Central Gwinnett last Friday.

Double showdowns

First place in 6-AA South boys as well as girls will be on the line when Wesleyan hosts GAC. Each team is 11-0 in the region.

The schools were to play Jan. 19, but the games were postponed because of bad weather. After difficulty in reaching agreement on a rescheduled date, the teams will make up the games on Feb. 9 - the day after the regular season was to end.

That means the rivals could meet three times in three weeks, counting the region tournament.

The Wesleyan girls and boys are a combined 34-5. GAC is even better at 36-4.