DeShields scores 34 as Norcross girls roll

NORCROSS -- The rafters of the Norcross gymnasium, affectionately known as the House of Blue, are starting to get full.

The Blue Devils unfurled their 2011 state championship girls and boys banners Monday night between games of a doubleheader sweep against Collins Hill, the titles raising the school's total to six -- all in the past six years.

Will there be an addition or two at the end of this season? With Diamond DeShields around, you certainly can't count coach Angie Hembree's girls out.

DeShields was 7-for-10 from behind the 3-point arc and scored 34 points in less than three quarters of play as the Blue Devils routed Collins Hill 75-46 in their Region 7-AAAAA opener.

"I don't think that's the hottest I've ever been, but it was the hottest I've been in a while," the reigning Miss Georgia Basketball said. "It definitely felt good."

The Norcross girls have won two consecutive Class AAAAA titles and a three-peat would match the Collins Hill streak from 2005 through 2007 with Maya Moore.

Of course, that's a very tough assignment. No. 1-ranked McEachern -- the runner-up a season ago -- has four returning starters and a key transfer addition.

Norcross, ranked No. 2 in the GACA/Ga.PrepCountry.com coaches poll, is just 3-2. But the losses are to McEachern and Alabama-power Hoover, both nationally ranked like the Blue Devils.

DeShields had just five points in the 41-28 loss to Hoover on Dec. 3. Against Collins Hill she made sure to make that just a bad memory.

"I never want to let my team down like that again," said DeShields, who also had five assists and four steals against Collins Hill.

The 6-foot-1 junior had 11 points in the first quarter, 23 by halftime and 34 by the time she left the game for good with about two minutes remaining in the third quarter. She had outscored the entire Collins Hill team up to that point.

Down 10-2 early, the Eagles (3-4, 0-2) fought back to within a point with about two minutes left in the first quarter. But Norcross closed on an 11-0 run to go up 21-9 and pushed its lead to 43-21 at halftime. It was 66-33 going into the shortened fourth quarter.

Tori Carter had 15 points for the Blue Devils, hitting a pair of first-quarter 3-pointers. Shayla Cooper contributed nine points and six rebounds, and Bria Williams handed out five assists.

Emily Buck hit four 3-pointers and led Collins Hill with 18 points. Jordan Ulm, who made three shots from behind the arc, scored 12 points for the Eagles.

DeShields said that she and her teammates won't be satisfied with anything less than another state title.

"This team has a lot of talent and a lot of heart," DeShields said. "It won't be easy. There are a lot of good teams. But I definitely think that we can do it again."

Norcross boys 57, Collins Hill 40

The Norcross boys, who won state titles in 2006, 2007 and 2008 before last season, finally played at home for the first time and defeated Collins Hill 57-40 as Brandon Goodwin led a balanced attack with 13 points.

The No. 8-ranked Blue Devils came into the Region 7-AAAAA opener 0-4, but the losses were to a pair of New York powers and two other state-ranked teams from Georgia.

Jason Croom scored nine points for Norcross, and Harold Givens had eight points, six rebounds and four blocked shots. Derrick Herbert added six points and five assists, while Kevin Barnes came of the bench for seven points and six rebounds.

Norcross jumped to a 10-0 lead over Collins Hill (0-7, 0-2) with assists on all five of the baskets. But the Eagles closed to 16-10 at the end of the first quarter and were within 29-19 at halftime.

But the Blue Devils outscored Collins Hill 17-6 in the third quarter to go up 46-25 and put the game out of reach.

Devin Mitchell led the Eagles with nine points.