Photo by Christine Troyke
NORCROSS -- It didn't take long for Meadowcreek to make a statement in Friday's important Region 8-AAAAA game against South Gwinnett.
"They were serious in the locker room before the game," Mustangs coach Billy Davis said. "I haven't seen them that serious in the locker room in a long time. They were real focused."
That focus carried over to the game as the No. 10 Mustangs rolled off 35 first-quarter points to build a comfortable lead before cruising to a 93-73 win at home.
The win was the second big one this week for Meadowcreek (13-3, 8-1), which kept pace with Central Gwinnett in a tie for the region lead, while South (13-4, 7-3) fell 11/2 games behind that pair.
"They wanted this game, and they played like they wanted it," Davis said. "They wanted to show folks they belong with the region's best."
The Mustangs pretty much showed that from the opening tip, as Lavon Hooks scored on a three-point play just 21 seconds in to set the tone.
It looked like South might be able to hang with Meadowcreek as the Comets took a 6-5 lead on a pair of Chad Ross free throws with 6:45 left in the first quarter, and got a break when Mustangs' starting point guard Aaron Robinson picked up his second foul shortly thereafter.
But the Comets didn't count on the combination of Hooks and Shaquille Morris heating up.
Morris gave Meadowcreek a lead it would not relinquish again at 7-6 with two free throws on the next possession.
With the lead 10-8, Hooks then hit a layup with 5:50 left to ignite a 21-1 run over the next 4:02 to give Meadowcreek a whopping 33-9 lead with 1:48 left in the quarter.
Hooks scored 11 of his team-high 25 points in the opening period, while Morris added 10 points on his way to matching his career high of 20. Hooks also finished with game-high 14 rebounds, plus three blocked shots and three steals.
"Once (Robinson) came out, I knew it was my time to step up," said Morris, who added six rebounds, four assists and two steals to his point total. "And we're always focused on getting the ball inside to Lavon."
When the dust settled, the Mustangs led 35-16 even after a 7-2 South run over the final 1:23 of the quarter.
"They came out and made some shots early," South coach Scott Bracco said of Meadowcreek. "And they got a number of putbacks off offensive rebounds. We just dug ourselves a big hole, and they had guys step up."
The Comets -- and specifically Javonte Maynor -- tried to step up in the second quarter.
The Georgia State signee scored five points and dished out two assists as South managed to pull as close as 44-30 following an Adonis Harrison free throw with 3:29 left in half.
But the Mustangs answered with a stickback by Hooks and transition layups from brothers Tevin and Terrence Glass to push the lead back to 20 at 50-30 and eventually took a 55-36 lead into halftime.
The Comets never came any closer than 15 points from that point.
John Ruff joined Hooks and Morris in double figures for Meadowcreek with 17 points, while Terrence Glass finished with nine points and eight rebounds and Tevin Glass chipped in eight points and eight boards.
Maynor led all scorers with 28 points and added three assists, while Jeff Quarterman also reached double figures for South with 10 points and Ross pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds.
South Gwinnett 57, Meadowcreek 51, OT
The Mustangs (3-13, 1-8) forced overtime with a late basket in regulation, but Tina Odume scored six of her game-high 26 points in the extra frame as the Comets (3-14, 2-8) avenged a loss to Meadowcreek earlier this season.
Odume finished just short of a triple-double with 10 rebounds and eight blocked shots.
Freddie Banks led Meadowcreek with 21 points, while Angel Alexander finished with 19.