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Peachtree Ridge boys edge Norcross 51-50

SUWANEE -- Jordan Capps has been up and down this season and so has Peachtree Ridge.

But when the 6-foot-7 senior is good, he is very, very good.

So, too, the Lions.

Capps had 19 points and nine rebounds as Peachtree Ridge moved into a tie for first place in Region 8-AAAAAA with a 51-50 home victory over Norcross on Wednesday night.

It was the second time in as many region games that Peachtree Ridge, which improved to 5-1 and 8-4 overall, had handed an opponent its first region loss. THe Lions and Collins Hill are 5-1, Norcross and North Gwinnett are 4-1.

Peachtree Ridge fans stormed the court after a Norcross shot missed at the buzzer. But as gratifying as the victory was, Lions coach Keith Arrington knows that it is still early.

"I think Norcross is going to get better and I think we're going to get better," Arrington said. "We're going to see good basketball from a lot of teams in this region."

Peachtree Ridge handed North Gwinnett its first loss last Friday, then the Lions were defeated handily by Class AAAA power Columbia on Saturday in the GAC Showcase.

It has been that kind of season.

"We've been inconsistent," Arrington said. "When we're good, we're very good. When we're not, well, I don't want to say anything bad. ... This is a new team and we're trying to figure out who we are."

Capps is the Lions' only returning starter and with that has come a new role as well as a position switch to small forward.

"He's still adjusting," Arrington said. "He's been up and down. But he was great out there."

With Capps scoring seven points, Peachtree Ridge jumped to a 15-8 lead. But Norcross (5-4) led 26-24 at halftime and was up 34-26 midway in the third quarter before the Lions closed to 40-38 going into the final period thanks to nine points by Capps.

When Edwin Efezohkae hit a 3-pointer, Peachtree was back up 51-45 with about three minutes left. But Andre Chatfield had a steal and basket, then a 3-point play to draw Norcross within one.

Nearly two minutes remained. No one could score, though.

After Efezohkae missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 41 seconds left, Norcross had its chances. Following a timeout with 14.3 seconds remaining, the Blue Devils had three shots. One was a mistaken heave after a long rebound when plenty of time remained. But Norcross got the ball out of bounds again with 2.8 seconds left.

Brandon Goodwin got the pass and tried a leaning baseline jumper, thinking he might draw a foul. None was called and the shot went off the rim.

"Any time you can get a victory over Norcross, you'll take it," Arrington said. "It's a nice way to go into Christmas."

Efezohkae finished with 12 points and the Lions got a big boost off the bench from Brandon Banks, who had eight points and six rebounds. Amir Warnock contributed 10 rebounds and six points, while freshman point guard Aaron Augustine handed out six assists.

Goodwin had 10 points and four assists for Norcross. Khalen Pinkett contributed nine points, while Ricky Madison had 11 rebounds to go with his seven points. Chatfield also scored seven.

Two of the three members of the state championship football team played for Norcross, but Lorenzo Carter and Chris Herndon combined for just two points in limited action.

Norcross girls 57, Peachtree Ridge 32

Diamond DeShields had 30 points, eight rebounds and seven steals as Norcross tuned up for a trip to Oregon for the Nike Interstate Invitational with a 57-32 victory over Peachtree Ridge.

The North Carolina recruit scored 12 points in the first quarter to jumpstart the Blue Devils (8-1, 5-0 Region 8-AAAAAA) to a 25-3 lead. Peachtree Ridge (3-7, 1-5) trailed 34-11 at halftime and 45-22 at the end of three quarters.

Melissa Turvy led Peachtree Ridge with 19 points. She was 6 of 12 from behind the 3-point arc and converted a free throw for a four-point play.

Shayla Cooper, who has signed with Georgetown, added 14 points for Norcross and Sierra Butler had eight rebounds. All except five of Peachtree Ridge's points came on 3-pointers.

Norcross, ranked No. 20 nationally by USA Today, will open against Tennessee signee Mercedes Russell and No. 17 Springfield (Ore.) next Wednesday in Lake Oswego. Russell and DeShields are the leading candidates for national player of the year this season.