0

Mill Creek girls beat No. 2 Norcross, boys get first win over Blue Devils

HOSCHTON -- Coming into the last week of regular season play, both Mill Creek's girls and boys basketball teams made some noise on Tuesday night.

A bit of history was made as the girls upset the No. 2-ranked Blue Devils 67-53, while the boys posted their first win in school history over the Blue Devils, running away for a 62-42 win.

The girls game started out slow with Mill Creek (16-8, 8-5) leading 13-10 after the first, but the Hawks exploded in the second quarter, outscoring the Blue Devils (20-4, 12-1) 20-8 in the period.

Jasmine Carter, who led Mill Creek with 22 points, led the charge with seven points in the period, as the Hawks carried a 33-18 lead into the locker room at the break.

Norcross battled back in the third, opening the frame with a 6-0 run and putting together another 8-0 spurt late in the third to cut the deficit to single digits at 41-32 with 1:53 left.

Tori Carter helped lead the Norcross surge, scoring seven of her nine points in the third, but a 3-pointer by India Dillard of Mill Creek put the Hawks back in control at 51-38 by period's end.

Norcross wouldn't go away and pulled to within five points at 56-51 with 5:13 left when Shayla Cooper scored off an offensive rebound. Cooper led Norcross with 20 points.

Cooper's put back was negated by another Mill Creek trey, this one from Nadiya Miller off an assist from Sierra Menzies. Mill Creek had a strong night shooting, hitting nine 3-pointers, hitting 50 percent of its shots on the night.

Miller finished with 14 points, while Menzies directed the offense with 11 assists to go along with four points. Tamarr Williams also helped Mill Creek with 13 points.

The boys game proved to be an even more physical affair, with several moments of chippiness between the players, only to see the Hawks pull away late in the game for the 62-42 win.

"It was nothing fancy, we just played hard and played well," Mill Creek boys head coach Chad Rogers said. "Our game plan tonight was to stop their transition and to keep them from getting to the rim. Norcross is known for attacking the boards and we did a good job inside.

"We also did a good job of hitting 3s. A lot of our scores tonight were also from assists and we need that because we're small."

Eight players scored at least five points for Mill Creek, led by a 12-point effort from Paul Evans. Daniel Loudermilk followed up with 11 points, while Trevon Shaw finished with 10 points.

After ending the first quarter in a 12-12 tie, Mill Creek (18-6, 9-4) took control in the second, getting points from six different players and building a 31-20 lead at the half.

Norcross (15-9, 11-2) hung tough in the third, getting to within eight points at 38-30 with 2:03 left, but Mill Creek closed out the third with the final three points and opened up the fourth with 10 more unanswered points to claim a 51-30 lead.

"We've gone through stretches where we've had trouble scoring and we were locked up in one of those droughts," Norcross boys head coach Jess McMillian said. "(Mill Creek) got some easy looks and that's a tough combination to overcome. I don't think that we were ready to match the toughness that (Mill Creek) brought tonight."

That 13-0 run from the third into the fourth quarter proved to be too much for Norcross to overcome as Mill Creek was able to keep its advantage around the 20-point plateau the rest of the game.

Jalen Bracey also delivered a strong game for the Hawks, chipping in eight points, while directing the offense with five assists.

"Jalen did a really good job of running things and controlling the tempo," Rogers said. "It may have been his best game of controlling things this year."

Brandon Goodwin of Norcross finished with 14 points to lead all players, but the next leading scorer for the Blue Devils contributed just six points.

Coupled with the North Gwinnett sweep of Meadowcreek, the loss puts both of Norcross' teams in a dead-even tie for the Region 7-AAAAA lead. Norcross will travel to North on Friday night to decide which team will win the regular-season title and earn the No. 1 seed for next week's region tournament.

"That's what we talked about after the game," McMillian said. "It doesn't get any easier and, having such a young team, they sometimes don't understand how much harder you have to play this late in the year."