Staff Photo: John Bohn Peachtree Ridge's Taylor Auzenne (23) drives the ball while closely covered by Mill Creek's Kathleen Haxton (11) during Friday's game.
HOSCHTON -- A record-setting night for the Mill Creek girls basketball team was needed to stop Peachtree Ridge's upset bid in the opener Friday night.
There was no stopping the visiting Lions in the nightcap, however.
The Peachtree Ridge boys stunned Mill Creek, the fourth-ranked team in Class AAAAA, in a 47-45 defensive battle between the Region 7-AAAAA foes. The last five games between those two boys teams now have been decided by a total of six points (the past four were one-point games), and Friday's matchup was another thriller.
The Lions (7-6, 2-2) hung on defensively in the waning moments, sealing the upset over the Hawks (12-2, 3-1). It was the theme of the night as Peachtree Ridge forced the hosts into an uncharacteristic 23 turnovers (seven each in the first, second and fourth quarters).
"We've not been as good defensively as we were last year," Peachtree Ridge boys coach Keith Arrington said. "But we've really been working hard at it. That's all I know to do, keep working at it. And we've gotten better at it."
Effective offense was the theme in the opener, which was won 70-57 by Mill Creek in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated.
The Hawks (11-3, 3-1) made a school-record 13 3-pointers in 26 attempts, courtesy of a huge night from Nadiya Miller. The junior scored a career-high 27 points and made eight 3-pointers, tying Shelbie Pool's school record for 3s in a game.
It took that kind of night to hold off Peachtree Ridge (6-6, 1-3), which made 19 of 34 shots (55.9 percent) through three quarters.
"What we've been doing well since we started playing better is better shot selection," Mill Creek girls coach Ashley Phillips said. "That was one of the most well-played games I've seen in terms of offensive efficiency for both teams. There was a lot of scoring but it wasn't necessarily bad defense. It was just good execution on offense."
There wasn't much offense in the nightcap as the two boys teams gritted out another nail-biter.
Peachtree Ridge scored the game's first seven points and never trailed, getting 15 points from Benny Johnson and a team-high 16 points off the bench from Davon Hill, including four 3-pointers. Those two players did the bulk of their damage in the first half as the Lions took a 27-15 lead at halftime.
"I thought offensively the difference in the game was (Hill) for them," Mill Creek boys coach Chad Rogers said. "We didn't know he could shoot like that. (Hill) and (Johnson) controlled the game in the first half."
After two quarters, Mill Creek had more turnovers (14) than field goal attempts (12). The Hawks cleaned it up in the third quarter, cutting the gap to 35-30 heading into the fourth quarter despite trailing by as many as 14 points midway through the third.
It was a one-possession game most of the game's final four minutes and Mill Creek got the closest to tying on Daniel Loudermilk's dunk with 18.4 seconds remaining. That closed the Lions' lead to 46-45 and created a frenzied final few seconds.
Mill Creek nearly turned it over as it sought a final shot, but regained possession on a loose ball that went out of bounds with 6.6 seconds left. The Hawks got the ball to Loudermilk (13 points, seven rebounds) and he went up for a contested shot with some contact, but no foul was called on the block. The ball ended up out of bounds with 1.1 seconds left and the Lions in possession.
Hill was fouled with 0.4 seconds left and tacked on the final point of the upset.
"I think it shows we're capable of beating some good teams," said Arrington, whose team has played without 6-foot-5 Jordan Capps (high ankle sprain) since Dec. 9. "I think our upside is pretty good."
Trevon Shaw had 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists to lead the Mill Creek offense.
In the girls game, the Hawks made their first five shots to take a 10-point lead just three minutes into the game, but Peachtree Ridge came firing back. The Lions hung close and took a lead midway through the third quarter, but Miller and Kathleen Haxton answered with 3-pointers as the Hawks regained their lead at 51-48 after three quarters.
Peachtree Ridge missed its first seven shots of the fourth quarter, allowing Mill Creek to pull away despite an off night from leading scorer Jasmine Carter. The sophomore didn't have a field goal and finished with just five points, four coming at the line in the fourth quarter.
Her teammates picked her up, though.
Miller's record-breaking night led the way, but India Dillard (10 points, 10 rebounds), Alesia Fagin (10 points) and Tamarr Williams (eight points, two 3-pointers) also chipped in offensively. Only seven of the Hawks' 20 field goals were from two-point range.
"(The 3-point shot) is important to us," Phillips said. "But we do a good job of taking what the defense gives us."
Melissa Turvy scored 16 points and hit four 3-pointers to lead the Peachtree Ridge offense, which also got 10 points and seven rebounds from Stephanie Amichia, nine points from Taylor Auzenne, seven points and eight rebounds from Mahrie Bowman and seven points from Justina Young.