The defending state champion Norcross boys and Shiloh, expected to be one of the most improved boys teams in Class AAAAA, will get a chance to see just how good they are in the first Big Apple vs. Big Peach Battle.
The event matching teams from Georgia against those from New York is Friday and Saturday at Shiloh, with seven games each day beginning at noon. Both boys and girls teams are participating.
Norcross will play its first game of the season at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Friday against South Shore. Shiloh, which opened with an overtime victory over Centennial on Nov. 15, will play Bishop Loughlin at approximately 7:30 p.m. in the next-to-last game of the opening day.
Shiloh doesn't play on Saturday, but Norcross will face Long Island Lutheran at approximately 6 p.m.
Norcross is ranked No. 3 behind Milton and Wheeler in the GACA/Ga.PrepCountry.com preseason coaches poll, while Shiloh is No. 6.
The Blue Devils graduated three players who signed college scholarship and Georgia Tech signee Chris Bolden transferred to North Gwinnett during the summer. But coach Jesse McMillan's team returns Derrick Herbert and Jason Croom, and added transfer Harold Givens. Ranked as one of the Top 25 junior prospects in the state, the 6-foot-7 Givens played at Northside in Columbus previously.
Shiloh moved into the AAAAA rankings because of the addition of Georgia Tech signee Robert Carter and 7-foot Trayvon Reed. The 6-foot-9 Carter, who transferred from Thomasville, is ranked as the No. 2 senior in Georgia and No. 21 player nationally by ESPNU. Reed, who came from Alabama, is ranked as the No. 1 sophomore in the state and No. 22 nationally by ESPNU.
Reed didn't play in Shiloh's opener against Centennial, but Carter had 18 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks and four assists in the 73-65 victory.
There will be seven boys and seven girls games in the Big Apple vs. Big Peach Battle.
The other top boys teams from Georgia playing are Lovejoy and Fayette County, ranked No. 3 and No. 4 in Class AAAA. The girls field features Columbia, No. 2 in Class AAA, from Georgia and New York teams Long Island Luthern, Holy Trinity and Mary Louis Academy.
The Norcross and Shiloh boys are the only Gwinnett teams taking part.