File Photo Norcross' Jason Croom (50) grabs a defensive rebound during a recent game against North Gwinnett.
A week after Norcross' girls basketball team lost one of its most important players when defending Daily Post Player of the Year Diamond DeShields went out for three weeks with a fractured wrist, the Blue Devils boys were also hit with an injury that will keep a key player out for the foreseeable future.
Jason Croom, the team's second-leading rebounder, suffered a dislocated shoulder during the Blue Devils' 61-56 win at Peachtree Ridge last Tuesday.
The 6-foot-5, 213-pound senior post will be out at least through the end of the regular season and the Region 7-AAAAA tournament, according to Norcross coach Jesse McMillan.
"It doesn't look like anything that will require any kind of surgery," McMillan said of Croom, who has committed to signing a football scholarship with the University of Tennessee on Wednesday. "But the best-case scenario (for Croom's return) is probably the state playoffs. Realistically, (the timeline for his return could change) day-by-day. We don't want to rush him back, and we're concerned about his future on the football field."
Croom will be hard to replace, and not just for the 9.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game he was providing for the Blue Devils (13-8, 9-1) as they try to hold onto a one-game lead over Mill Creek and North Gwinnett in the region standings.
As a veteran of three seasons with the varsity, including playing a pivotal role in the Blue Devils' Class AAAAA state championship run last season, Croom's leadership will be tough to replace.
But McMillan is hopeful younger players like 6-5 freshman Ricky Madison will be able to step in and fill the void in the low block, while more experienced players like fellow senior Derrick Herbert will be able to step up in the leadership department.
"Ricky Madison has started the last two games, and he's played well," McMillan said. "But you're talking about replacing a senior who's started a lot of big games for us the last few years to a freshman who's just learning. A lot of people are going to have to step up."
Generals command respect in Florida
Shiloh's No. 3 state-ranked boys team took a break from Region 8-AAAAA play to compete in the prestigious Montverde Invitational tournament in central Florida over the weekend.
And the Generals (17-3, 10-1) made a strong showing after a narrow loss to tournament runner-up Orlando Christian in the opener, bouncing back to beat defending Florida Class 4A champion Leesburg and Philadelphia power Imhotep Charter of Philadelphia to win the consolation bracket and finish in fifth place.
Georgia Tech-bound senior Robert Carter was named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging 15.3 points and 12 rebounds for the three games, while 7-0 sophomore Trayvon Reed also had a strong tournament, averaging nine points, including a 19-point effort against Orlando Christian.
"We're excited we got to play some great competition," Shiloh coach Kim Rivers said. "Knowing we can compete with some of the top teams in the country gives us some confidence heading down the stretch."
A quartet of boys and girls players in the Lilburn area -- two each at Berkmar High and Providence Christian Academy -- reached career milestones in recent weeks.
Berkmar boys seniors Yonel Brown and Brandon Thompson -- key players for the seventh-ranked Patriots (15-6, 12-1) as they battle Shiloh for the region title -- were honored for reaching the 1,000-point mark earlier in the week before Saturday night's win over Parkview.
Brown actually accomplished the feat back in December, and how has more than 1,100 points for his career, while Thompson reached 1,000 points last week.
Meanwhile, Providence also honored a pair of players for reaching the 1,000-point mark earlier this month.
Erika Gotfredson, who ended last week as Gwinnett's third-leading scorer at 17.2 points per game, became just the third girls player in Providence history to reach the 1,000-point mark two weeks ago.
Around the same time, fellow senior Nate Bucher became just the second Stars boys player to reach the milestone.
Archer thinks pink early
While most Georgia High School Association basketball programs are having their "Pink Out" nights to raise breast cancer awareness next week, Archer High did its "Think Pink" night a little early during Friday night's girls/boys doubleheader against Brookwood.
It was a particularly poignant night for the Archer girls, who honored Sandra Mann, the mother of Tigers sophomore Alesha Mann who lost her battle with breast cancer last December.
And the program went all out with the color of the evening to serve as a reminder of the cause.
The Tigers wore special uniforms with pink-colored numbers and pink shorts and there were even pink nets on each basket.
"That was actually funny because we didn't even order those," said Archer girls coach Ryan Lesniak. "We'd ordered some pink socks through Lee Sports, and they showed up (Friday) with two pink nets in hand. That was a class act on their part.
"A company called Energov Solutions donated money for the jerseys. That was a grand gesture on their part."