Photo by Ben Beitzel

Photo by Ben Beitzel

SUWANEE -- E. Victor Nickerson's final putback Tuesday night drew the most crowd response.

The 6-foot-6 Norcross junior lost the handle on a dunk attempt and missed, forcing him to hang on the rim with his left hand and tap it back in with his right. The basket obviously didn't count, but he had plenty of other baskets off offensive rebounds against Collins Hill.

So did his teammates, as the visiting Blue Devils controlled the glass in a 74-60 win over the Eagles. It was the final game for Norcross (13-2, 9-1 Region 7-AAAAA) before a tough Saturday matchup with Thomas Jefferson (N.Y.), and head coach Jesse McMillan was pleased with his team's play for three quarters.

He also liked that his team used its size edge for a 45-20 advantage in rebounding. That was without 6-foot-7 former starter Adrian Hubbard, who left the team earlier this month to heal a shoulder injury and focus on his Alabama football career. Hubbard averaged 10.3 points and 9.8 rebounds last season.

"It has to be like that, we have to rebound like that," McMillan said. "We talk about trying to get as many possessions as we can and we play up-tempo, but we try to get three guys in there to help on the glass."

The offensive glass made a huge difference Tuesday night.

Norcross had 11 putback baskets on offensive rebounds, four from Josiah Moore (eight points, 11 rebounds, four assists).

"(Moore's) one of those kids who really picks it up on the glass for us," McMillan said.

So does Nickerson, who had 14 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. He and Malcolm McDonald (eight points) each scored on two putbacks.

Their work inside gave a huge boost to good shooting nights from Jeremy Lamb and Chris Bolden. Lamb had a team-high 18 points and six rebounds and Bolden came off the bench to score 14 points.

Bolden made four 3-pointers, three in an 11-point first half. The sophomore Brookwood transfer's shooting answered several first-half runs by Collins Hill (10-6, 6-4).

Norcross led 22-16 after a quarter, but went on a 9-2 run to start the second quarter. Most of that run -- which included two offensive rebound baskets and a 3-pointer from Bolden -- came when the Eagles rested star guard Saah Nimley.

From that point on, Collins Hill never closed the gap to less than 10 points. Norcross led by as many as 25 in the third quarter, before the Eagles made a fourth-quarter push.

"We had a game plan and stuck with it until the fourth quarter," McMillan said. "(Collins Hill) started making shots and we showed some immaturity."

McMillan threw a variety of defenses and defenders at the 5-8 Nimley. Much of the night he used Moore, an athletic 6-5 player.

Nimley led Collins Hill with 20 points, but made just 5 of 18 shots and only 1 of 7 from 3-point range. The Eagles also got solid games from Jeff Glover (10 points, five rebounds) and Charles Watson (nine points), but they had trouble finding another scoring option outside of Nimley, who scored nine of his points at the foul line.

"(Nimley's) an elite-level scorer and he gets shots when he wants them," McMillan said. "We were sitting there on the end of the bench talking about what else we could do to him. We used multiple defenses, we pressured him, we sagged off. We did all we could."