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Balanced Norcross boys win 13th straight

Photo: David McGregor. Norcross guard Josiah Moore (24) goes up for a slam dunk during the second half of the Blue Devils' first-round victory over Lassiter in the Class AAAAA state tournament on Saturday.

Photo: David McGregor. Norcross guard Josiah Moore (24) goes up for a slam dunk during the second half of the Blue Devils' first-round victory over Lassiter in the Class AAAAA state tournament on Saturday.

NORCROSS — The Norcross boys went into the state tournament with a 12-game winning streak and plenty of momentum after taking the Region 7-AAAAA title.

Now the streak is 13 and the Blue Devils — an enigma early in the season — just keep playing better and better.

No. 3-ranked Norcross (20-9) had four players reach double figures and nine score while rolling to a 74-48 rout of visiting Lassiter on Saturday night.

“We’re doing some good things,” Blue Devils coach Jesse McMillan said. “Team basketball and commitment to defense are paying off for us.”

Lassiter (10-16) scored the game’s first four points. But all that did is give Norcross a quick wake-up call, although the Blue Devils probably didn’t need it.

Norcross went on a 17-0 run and led 19-6 at the end of the first quarter. Then it got worse for Lassiter, the No. 4 seed from Region 5-AAAAA.

The Blue Devils scored the first 11 points of the second quarter to go up 30-6 and it was 40-26 at halftime.

Josiah Moore had 11 points, five rebounds and five assists by the intermission as Norcross enjoyed a 23-8 rebounding edge and had 13 assists on 20 first-half baskets.

“One of our goals coming into the game was to move the ball around and take high-percentage shots,” McMillan said.

But another strong defensive effort was just as important as unselfish offense for Norcross.

“We knew that Lassiter was a half-court team, so we wanted to speed it up a little bit,” McMillan said. “I couldn’t be happier overall with how we’ve played defense the last 12 or 13 games.”

Norcross led 69-32 after three quarters and McMillan could give his regulars an early rest for the second round of the state tournament.

Chris Bolden scored a game-high 16 points and Moore finished with 15 points, six rebounds and six assists. Derrick Herbert had a game-best seven assists to go with 10 points and Alonzo Nelson-Ododa had 11 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots.

E.Victor Nickerson led Norcross with nine rebounds and Nate Sims hit a trio of 3-pointers for nine points as all the Blue Devils contributed.

Meanwhile, it wasn’t the way Lassiter wanted to end the season. But the Trojans were led by a couple of underclassmen who will be back next year. Niles Clark, a junior, had 14 points and sophomore Juwan Dickey scored 11.