LILBURN - It looked like the Sandy Creek girls might be ready to spoil the first-ever meeting between neighbors Norcross and Wesleyan.
Down 14-2 early and still trailing by nine points to start the fourth quarter, Sandy Creek cut the Norcross lead to a point with 3:47 left Saturday in the opening round of the Parkview Tip-Off Classic.
Then seniors Brianna Meeks and Tiffany Clarke took over for the Blue Devils, who will get their match-up with Wesleyan in the semifinals on Monday at
3 p.m. Meeks had seven points and Clarke had six as Norcross outscored Sandy Creek 13-2 down the stretch for the 60-48 victory.
Wesleyan, ranked No. 9 nationally by USA Today, did its part with a 72-35 first-round rout of Miller Grove as Anne Marie Armstrong scored 18 and Erin Hall had 15.
"We didn't play like we can, especially on defense," Norcross coach Angie Hembree said. "But we hung on at the end and made our free throws. I'm proud of them for that."
Clarke, a Vanderbilt signee, finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Meeks scored 16 and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Meeks had a rebound and a basket after Sandy Creek cut the Blue Devils' lead to 47-46 and was 5-for-6 at the foul line to help keep Norcross ahead.
"She played a strong game," Hembree said. "Her rebounding and foul shots were big."
Clarke and Meeks had to step up to counter Sandy Creek's Morgan Toles. The Auburn signee had 20 points, six assists, six rebounds and numerous assists.
"She's one of the best guards in the state, if not the best," Hembree said. "She put that team on her back and carried it."
Kayla Nolan had 10 points and Briana Jordan scored nine for Norcross, which scored the first nine points of the game. Norcross was ranked No. 8 in Class AAAAA by the GaSports.com/GACA coaches poll, while Sandy Creek was No. 8 in AAAA.
Although Norcross and Wesleyan have never played in any sport, Jordan and fellow Greater Atlanta Christian transfer Anjelica Wilcox are used to playing against the Wolves. GAC and Wesleyan played seven times the past two seasons, each winning a Class AA state title.
Wesleyan led 25-4 after the first quarter against Miller Grove and then outscored the Wolverines 25-3 in the third quarter. Grace Leah Baugh and Kennington Goff just missed double figures with nine points.
Parkview and Loganville will play in the second girls semifinal at 6 p.m. Monday. The Panthers, ranked No. 6 in Class AAAAA, routed Tri-Cities 63-15 and Loganville held off GAC 63-57.
Katie Carroll led Parkview with 21 points, hitting four 3-pointers. Lauren Coleman scored 11 as the Panthers coasted to an easy victory after winning a showdown 42-38 at Duluth in their opener.
GAC fell to 0-2 despite 27 points by Chaney Means, who hit six 3-pointers. Clarke Boards scored 14 for the Spartans, while Brittanee Hazel had 21 points to lead Loganville.
What: Parkview Tip-Off Classic
Where: Parkview High School
· Norcross 60, Sandy Creek 48
· Loganville 63, GAC 57
· Wesleyan 72, Miller Grove 35
· Parkview 63, Tri-Cities 15
· Norcross vs. Wesleyan, 3 p.m.
· Loganville vs. Parkview, 6 p.m.
Semifinal winners, 7 p.m.