Norcross, Parkview girls meet again

Sure it's just a second round game, but it's one worthy of higher billing.

Parkview enters tonight's game against Norcross ranked No. 10 in the nation by USA Today. The Panthers are undefeated and haven't lost since last season ended at the hands of this Norcross team.

Norcross, which came up short in its bid for a third straight Class AAAAAA championship last year, boasts one of the nation's top players in Diamond DeShields and knows how to win games this time of the season.

"We've got to believe we can do it," Parkview head coach Tony Watkins said. "They are, by far, better than anybody we've played all year. They have the championship pedigree.

"It's fun to have this opportunity and we'll see what happens."

What happened last year was a 63-48 Norcross win. And like last year, Norcross is the biggest challenge for Parkview.

"I think Parkview is probably better than they were last year," Norcross head coach Angie Hembree said. "They play a lot of kids."

Unlike the Blue Devils, who rely mostly on the unending talent of DeShields and Shayla Cooper, players Watkins said can, "go out and get you 20 any, every night," Parkview uses its entire bench, rattling teams with aggressive defense and turning it into points.

"They get real physical," Hembree said. "You have to be able to handle the ball."

If a 80-32 win earlier this week is any indication, Norcross recovered from its Region 7-AAAAAA championship loss to North Gwinnett and refocused for the state playoffs.

"The kids played well together, passed the ball well, ran the floor well," Hembree said. "I thought we did a good job of playing our game. Hopefully, we can play with the same intensity and pass the ball as well."

Parkview dispatched Wheeler in its first-round game as well, setting up tonight's premier match-up, a game Watkins expects to draw interest from people beyond the two schools and one his team is excited for.

"I don't think (the excitement) is so much because they knocked us out last year, but because it's Norcross," Watkins said. "They are the kings until somebody knocks them off. The are at the top of the mountain and they are where everybody is trying to get."

And it's not the only girls hoops playoff game of the night.

Archer travels to North Gwinnett in another Gwinnett vs. Gwinnett match up and Central Gwinnett head to Alpharetta for the schools first second round appearance under head coach Jason Adams. In Class AAAthe Buford girls play Elbert County and in Class AA GAC visits Kendrick and Wesleyan host Bremen.