NORCROSS -- To say the 2011-12 season-opener between Norcross and McEachern girls basketball teams was a far cry from last year's Class AAAAA state championship would be an understatement.
Routed 61-36 in last year's title game, McEachern showed some guts and determination on the road as the Indians rallied for a 55-43 win over Norcross on the opening night of the 2011 Lady Blue Tipoff Classic.
Trailing 40-38 midway through the fourth quarter, McEachern went on a 10-0 run and eventually pulled out a 12-point win.
In fact, McEachern (1-0) outscored Norcross 23-8 in the final eight minutes for the comeback win, thanks to some solid guard play and big shots down the stretch.
After Dominique Wilson nailed a three-pointer to give McEachern a 41-40 lead, the senior guard hit another trey to push the Indians' lead to 44-40 with 3:14 remaining.
Then McEachern quickly scored five more points on a Destinie Gibbs' layup and another Wilson field goal for a 49-40 lead with 2:54.
By the time Norcross could get on the scoreboard again on a Shayla Cooper free throw with a little over two minutes left, McEachern had taken the steam of the Blue Devils.
McEachern then hit six free throws down the stretch while Norcross could only get a Diamond DeShields field goal and free throw in the final 1:53 to close out the contest.
"I think our inability to execute at the guard position really hurt us and we just rushed some shots without being in rebounding position," said Norcross head coach Angie Hembree. "That allowed (McEachern) to get some easy buckets and we gave up too many points from their guards. We weren't prepared and we weren't ready, but we will be. It's a tough way to start the season and we'll learn a lot."
DeShields led Norcross with 19 points, but just seven in the second half.
Jasmine Kemp added eight and Cooper had seven as Norcross had just five players score.
Wilson led the McEachern attack with 24 points and Pachiyanna Roberts added 19 for the Indians, who also had just five players score.
McEachern built a 15-10 lead at the end of the first quarter, thanks primarily to Norcross mistakes as the Blue Devils turned the ball over seven times in the opening eight minutes and couldn't find an offense flow.
But Norcross rebounded in the second quarter and outscored McEachern 14-5 as DeShields heated up with 10 of the Blue Devils' points.
Meanwhile, the Norcross defense began to suffocate McEachern as the Indians managed just one field goal from Roberts, who had four of the team's five points in the quarter.
Mill Creek 49, Milton 32
Mill Creek, a Class AAAAA state semifinalist last season, got off to a good start as the Hawks rolled past Milton 49-32 in the season-opener for both teams at the Lady Blue Tipoff Classic.
Sophomore Jasmine Carter led the way for Mill Creek (1-0) with 15 points while India Dillard added eight and Sierra Menzies had seven as the Hawks put seven players in the scoring column.
Milton (0-1), an Elite 8 team last season in Class AAAAA, was paced by Laura D'Andrea with 15 points while Gracie Farnsworth had seven.
Mill Creek led 11-6 after the first quarter and then held Milton to just two points in the second quarter as the Hawks built a 20-8 halftime lead.
GAC 58, Wheeler 35
Greater Atlanta Christian got 22 points from freshman Cossette Mahre as the Spartans rolled to a 58-35 rout over Wheeler at the Lady Blue Tipoff Classic.
GAC (1-0) led 32-12 at the half and never looked back en route to the 23-point win.
Brianna Cummings added 13 points and Cici Buford had 11.
Syndi Means chipped in eight points and Jasmine Hill had four as the Spartans had just five players score in the game.
Kiana Griffin led the way for Wheeler (0-1) with 10 points and DeAndra Carter and Alaysia Mitchell added eight each.