Staff Photo: John Bohn Mill Creek's T.J. Christopher (21) blocks a shot being taken by Mill Creek's Benny Johnson (11) during the first half of Tuesday's game.
SUWANEE It wasn't a bad start that did the Mill Creek boys in this time against Peachtree Ridge.
Quite to the contrary.
The No. 5-ranked Hawks jumped to a 22-10 first-quarter lead. But after that it was all Peachtree Ridge on Tuesday night in a Region 7-AAAAA battle.
Cole Romaguera had a career-best 21 points to lead the way as the host Lions knocked Mill Creek into third place in the region and established themselves as a team to be feared come tournament time with a 64-58 victory.
"We've still had all our players for just one game," Peachtree Ridge coach Keith Arrington said. "If we can finally get everyone together, I think we'll be pretty good. But this is a tough region. That was a tough team we beat."
Jordan Capps, who missed most of the early part of the season, scored 18 points against Mill Creek and put the victory away on a resounding dunk with 68 seconds remaining.
Although Romaguera and Capps combined for 39 points, they were hardly the only players that played key roles as fourth-place Peachtree Ridge improved to 7-4 in the region and 13-9 overall. Benny Johnson had 11 assists to go with his eight points and Brandon Jack had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Paul Evans had 17 points for Mill Creek, but he was the only player in double figures as the Hawks fell to 17-5 overall and 8-3 in the region with a game at second-place North Gwinnett coming up on Friday.
Evans had eight quick points and Mill Creek hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter while seemingly taking control. The start was the complete opposite of what happened in the Hawks' home loss to Peachtree Ridge on Jan. 6, when the Lions led 27-15 at halftime and had to hold on for a 47-45 upset.
Romaguera, a 5-foot-10 senior, was the catalyst in Peachtree Ridge's turnaround this time. He hit two 3-pointers and had nine points in the second quarter as the Lions closed to 31-29 at halftime.
"He's done a good job all season, but he's really been playing well lately," Arrington said.
Romaguera hit a third 3-pointer to start the second half and Peachtree Ridge was ahead 44-37 after Capps made a trey. Mill Creek, though, was back within 44-43 at the end of the third quarter and took the lead on Jalen Bracey's basket to start the final quarter.
The rest of the game, however, belonged to Peachtree Ridge to the delight of the home crowd.
Romaguera had nine points in the final quarter, hitting his fourth 3-pointer early on and going 4-for-4 at the foul line inside the last minute.
Bracey and Trevon Shaw each had nine points for Mill Creek and Daniel Loudermilk scored seven before fouling out.
Romaguera is getting more playing time because Cole Rives is out with a sprained ankle. But he may be back as early as Friday, when Peachtree Ridge plays at Mountain View.
"I'm looking forward to having our complete team," Arrington said.
No matter where the Lions finish the regular season, no one will want to face them in the region tournament. Especially if Peachtree Ridge finally has a full roster.
Peachtree Ridge girls 62, Mill Creek 45
Stephanie Amichia had 28 points and 16 rebounds as the Peachtree Ridge girls surprised Mill Creek 62-45 with a dominant second half.
Peachtree Ridge (13-9, 5-6) trailed 25-23 at halftime before outscoring Mill Creek (15-7, 7-4) 13-3 in the third quarter and 26-17 in the fourth.
Melissa Turvy hit a trio of 3-pointers and finished with 12 points for the Lions, matching teammate Taylor Auzenne. Amichia, a 6-foot sophomore, made 13 of 20 shots from the floor and was 2-for-2 at the foul line.
Mill Creek hit a school-record 13 3-pointers in a 70-57 victory over Peachtree Ridge on Jan. 6 and made eight this time. But it wasn't enough.
Tamarr Williams hit five 3-pointers for 15 points to lead the Hawks this time and Jasmine Carter scored 10 points. Alesia Fagin scored eight points, but, was ejected for a flagrant technical foul late in the game.
Nadiya Miller scored 27 points while tying the school record with eight 3-pointers in the earlier game, but she had just two points on a pair of free throws this time.