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Capps' defensive effort keys Lions' region title

Peachtree Ridge's Jordan Capps #23 drives to the basket as he is being defended by Mac Howard #44 of North Gwinnett.

Peachtree Ridge's Jordan Capps #23 drives to the basket as he is being defended by Mac Howard #44 of North Gwinnett.

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Peachtree Ridge's Jordon Capps #23 shoots over North Gwinnett's Jordon Brown #21.

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North Gwinnett's Chris Bolden #25 is defended by Cole Rives #12 of Peachtree Ridge.

NORCROSS -- Normally a primary scoring threat, Jordan Capps had scored just six points for Peachtree Ridge in the Region 7-AAAAA boys' championship game against North Gwinnett.

So the junior simply turned to his defense to secure the Lions' thrilling 56-54 win over the Bulldogs Saturday night at Meadowcreek High School.

After Peachtree Ridge (19-9) took a two-point lead on Amir Warnock's basket with three seconds remaining in the game, Capps literally grabbed victory from North.

Guarding the in-bounds play right in front of the Bulldogs' bench, Capps used his 6-5 frame to snatch the pass and raced up court to dribble out the final ticks on the clock.

For Peachtree Ridge, it was a hard-fought victory after watching top-seeded North (19-9) rally from 17 points down to force the drama at the end.

"I thought we did a great job of building our lead, but then we had to hold on at the end," said Peachtree Ridge head coach Keith Arrington. "We started settling for jump shots instead of running, which we have to do. We don't play well when we don't run.

"And (North) got some momentum in the second half and they have a great team. So we knew they would keep coming at us and they did."

Peachtree Ridge built a 20-13 lead after the first quarter and eventually built a 17-point lead at 39-22 heading into halftime.

Benny Johnson, who finished with 23 points, led the way for Peachtree Ridge in the first half with 19 points -- many coming on dribble-drives to the basket through the North defense.

But North went to work in the third quarter and outscored Peachtree Ridge 16-4 to pull within 43-38 heading into the fourth quarter.

Danny Crawford's long three-pointer just across midcourt as time expired in the third quarter seemed to give North the momentum it needed after trailing the entire contest.

But North could never gain the lead as the Bulldogs managed to tie the game at 54-54, setting up Warnock and Capps' heroics.

"Benny (Johnson) had a great game and he made a great pass to Amir (Warnock), who also had a great game," said Arrington. "Brandon (Jack) got in foul trouble, so Amir stepped up and played well for us."

Warnock finished the game with 10 points, including six in the fourth quarter, to go along with seven rebounds for the Lions.

Cole Romaguera added 10 points for Peachtree Ridge, including two three-pointers.

North was led by Chris Bolden's game-high 28 points while A.J. Clements added nine.

"We dug ourselves a big hole in the first half and did not defend at all," said North head coach Zach Smith. "We made a valiant comeback in the second half, but it just wasn't enough. Give credit to (Peachtree Ridge head coach) Keith (Arrington) for a great win. No excuses on our part -- we just didn't play well in the first half."

Peachtree Ridge will be the No. 1 seed out of Region 7-AAAAA and will host Dacula, the No. 4 seed from 8-AAAAA, in the state tournament first round.

Meanwhile, North will be the No. 2 seed from 7-AAAAA and host Central Gwinnett, the No. 3 seed from 8-AAAAA, in the first round of the state tournament.

MILL CREEK 61, NORCROSS 49

Trevon Shaw scorched Norcross for a game-high 28 points as the Hawks rolled past the Blue Devils 61-49 in the third-place game of the Region 7-AAAAA boys' tournament at Meadowcreek High School.

Shaw connected on six three-pointers, including five in the first half.

Leading just 14-10 at the end of the first quarter, Mill Creek (21-7) outscored Norcross 18-9 to open up a 32-19 halftime lead.

Mill Creek maintained a comfortable advantage and led by as many as 16 points in second half.

Norcross did make one push in the fourth quarter and cut the Mill Creek lead to 47-40 with 6:16 to go in the game.

But Mill Creek answered and eventually pulled away for the 12-point win.

Jalen Bracey added 14 points as Mill Creek hit nine three-pointers in the game.

Derrick Herbert had 18 points for Norcross (16-12) and Jalen Davis had eight.

Mill Creek will be the No. 3 seed from 7-AAAAA and travel to Shiloh, the No. 2 seed out of 8-AAAAA, in the first round of the state tournament.

Norcross gets the No. 4 seed out of 7-AAAAA and will travel to Berkmar, the No. 1 seed in 8-AAAAA, in the first round of the state tournament.