Photo by Ben Beitzel

Photo by Ben Beitzel

SUWANEE -- Saah Nimley gets the treatment every time he steps on the basketball court.

The Collins Hill guard not only gets a multitude of defenses thrown at him by opposing coaches, he also is showered with constant taunts from opposing fans who make him their No. 1 target. On Monday night, the North Gwinnett fans brought a children's basketball goal with the sign "Saah's Goal" on it, a knock on the 5-foot-8 junior's stature.

"I notice (the taunts) but I don't let it affect my play on the court, I just laugh it off," Nimley said. "It makes me want to play better."

He answered the jeers from the start in Monday's Region 7-AAAAA regular-season finale with 25 first-half points. Then as North put extra attention on him throughout the second half, he did a nice job getting his teammates involved in a 64-59 win over the host Bulldogs.

Nimley finished with game highs of 34 points and five assists as Collins Hill (19-6) secured the No. 3 seed in this week's region tournament and slowed down the hot Bulldogs (14-10), who had won seven straight games.

"We moved the ball and hit our shots," Collins Hill boys coach Josh Grayson said. "(Nimley) did a good job of recognizing when they came out and trapped him. ... He handles that stuff so well because he handles the ball so well."

Nimley's first-half barrage -- he made 8 of 14 shots and 5 of 6 3-pointers -- led to a 39-31 lead at intermission. He accounted for all 18 Collins Hill points in the first quarter on 13 points and two assists.

North's Clayton Williams returned from first-half foul trouble to guard Nimley in the third quarter as the Bulldogs repeatedly trapped the Collins Hill standout as he crossed halfcourt to make him give up the ball. That strategy and 12 third-quarter points from Williams allowed North to slip ahead by a point entering the fourth quarter.

But Nimley started getting his teammates involved, assisting the Eagles' first two baskets of the final period. Eight other Collins Hill players had at least one field goal in the victory, but none had more than two.

Though there was no clear No. 2 option behind Nimley -- Andre Allen, Herdie Lawrence and Charles Watson had six points each -- a number of players stepped up when needed.

"I think (trapping me at halfcourt) is an advantage on our end," Nimley said. "We've got good wings who can get to the basket and hit shots."

The setback was tough for North on Senior Night, dropping the Bulldogs to the No. 5 seed. Conner Day led North with 15 points, Cyrus Lavant scored 13, Alex Tiller had 11 points and Matt Walker added eight points and eight rebounds.