Staff Photo: John Bohn Mill Creek's Trevon Shaw (14) falls to the floor in pursuit of the ball with Duluth's Eddie Clary (20) during the fourth quarter of Wednesday's game. Mill Creek defeated Duluth 61-40.
SUWANEE -- All four top seeds in the Region 7-AAAAA boys' basketball tournament advanced to Friday's semifinals, but the fourth and final quarterfinal Wednesday night proved to be the most competitive game so far as No. 3 Peachtree Ridge hung on for a 43-39 win over No. 6 Collins Hill.
Peachtree Ridge (17-9) will move on the face Norcross in the first of two semifinals at 5:30 p.m. on Friday at Meadowcreek.
Collins Hill closes its season at 9-17.
Peachtree Ridge jumped out to a 10-2 lead on Collins Hill and led 15-9 at the end of the first quarter.
But Collins Hill battled back and trailed just 22-19 at the half.
In the third quarter, Collins Hill took its first lead of the night at 23-22.
But Peachtree Ridge turned to Brandon Jack to give the Lions a 34-33 lead heading to the fourth quarter as the senior came up big with a 10-point quarter.
Jack's basket with 2:31 left in the game gave Peachtree Ridge a 40-35, but a free throw from Edwin Efezohkae at 1:14 and two more from Cole Romaguera with 27 seconds remaining sealed the deal for the Lions.
"We battled as a team and had some guys step up when it counted," said Peachtree Ridge head coach Keith Arrington. "Cole (Romaguera) has been clutch for us all season and Brandon (Jack) really gave us a lift in the third quarter. Give a lot of credit to Collins Hill, because they always battle us and they did again tonight."
Jack led Peachtree Ridge with 17 points while Benny Johnson and Jordan Capps had eight each.
Devin Mitchell led the way for Collins Hill with 17 points and Conner Iverson added 11.
Mill Creek 61, Duluth 40
Tied at 21-all at halftime and trailing for much of the first half, No. 4 seed Mill Creek doubled its output with a 21-point third quarter that propelled the Hawks to a 61-40 win over No. 5 Duluth in the first quarterfinal of the day.
Mill Creek (20-6) moves on to play top-seeded North Gwinnett in the second of two semifinals on Friday at 8:30 p.m. at Meadowcreek.
Duluth finishes its season at 8-18.
Paul Evans and Trevon Shaw did all the damage for Mill Creek in the third quarter as the guard duo combined for the 21-point outburst.
Evans had 11 points in the quarter while Shaw had the other 10 points, including a go-ahead three-pointer to start the second half and give Mill Creek a lead it would never relinquish.
When the third quarter was finally over, Mill Creek had built a 42-32 lead and the Hawks didn't stop there.
Mill Creek continued to roll in the final eight minutes with a 19-point quarter as the Hawks never led by less than 11 en route to the 21-point victory.
"No doubt that (Duluth) caught us off-guard with that 3-2 zone in the first quarter," said Mill Creek head coach Chad Rogers. "We like to move a little bit and get some flow, but we didn't do that early. And Duluth hit every three they took. So we weren't doing well offensively and they were hitting some shots.
"But we calmed down and realized we didn't have to win it right there in the first half. We had good energy, but the patience wasn't there at first. But we did a good job of finally finding that balance. Give (Duluth) some credit for creating some problems for us before we could make some adjustments."
Evans finished with a game-high 18 points and dished out five assists while Shaw had 17 points for Mill Creek.
Daniel Loudermilk added 11 points and seven rebounds for the Hawks, who had just five players score in the game.
Jalen Bracey chipped in nine points and Corey Alkire added six points late in the game for Mill Creek, which hit eight 3-pointers in the contest.
Duluth, which was plagued by 21 turnovers, was led by Savion Griffin-Bey and Michael Randle, who had 11 points each.