North hoops sweeps Mill Creek

HOSCHTON -- After securing a pair of Region 7-AAAAAA wins on Friday night over Collins Hill, the North Gwinnett basketball program logged two more region wins on Saturday.

Facing Mill Creek, both the boys and girls for North secured their second win in as many nights over a solid region opponent as the girls took down the Hawks 53-40, followed by a 70-49 win by the Bulldogs in the boys finale.

The wins vaulted the girls to 13-0 overall and a perfect 7-0 in the region, while the boys bumped their mark to 12-2 overall and 6-1 in region play.

"Our guys are playing so unselfishly right now," North boys head coach Zachary Smith said. "They're not about themselves but about what's best for the team, and that's so important on offense. When it's all said and done, they're focused on winning games and in this region, you had better have that focus because you are going to need it every night."

That unselfish style of play on offense showed on Saturday as North tallied 14 assists, led by four from T.J. Howard. Those "extra passes" that Smith talked about after the game led to three players for North hitting in double digits in points, led by 17 from Kam Calhoun.

Mill Creek (10-5, 3-4), coming off a 2-1 performance over the break in the McDonald's tournamant at Tift County, got off to a solid start by leading 13-9 after the first period.

North, however, found its stroke on offense in the second quarter, outscoring the Hawks 22-14 in the period to lead 31-27 at the break.

Ahmad Caver, who finished with 15 for North, led that charge with eight points in the second.

"(North) went small ball on us in the second and was getting open shots in transition," Mill Creek head coach Chad Rogers said. "We didn't match up well with that and once they saw the ball going in the basket, they got their confidence and went from there."

Trevon Shaw did all he could on offense to keep Mill Creek in the game by leading the Hawks with 19 points, but didn't receive much help other than Davion Clark, who came off the bench to score 11.

North extended its lead to 51-39 by the end of the third, helped by Owen Lewis' eight points in the period, and pushed it to as high as 22 points in the fourth.

Lewis finished with 12 points and seven boards.

Lexie Brown led the attack for North in the girls game with 25 points, five assists, five steals and three rebounds as the girls knocked off Mill Creek (8-7, 5-2) 53-40.

Brown's effort helped North open up a 32-18 lead at the break, allowing the Bulldogs to spread out its offense and slow down the pace in the second half to hold off the Hawks.

"Lexie is a competitor and is going to do what it takes to win," North girls head coach Bryan Sellers said. "She came out tonight, hit a few shots for us and got us going. That really helped up spread the lead out and give us some good cushion."

Brown scored seven in the first, but it was the second period that saw North pull away. Brown added nine more in the period, while Joshlyn Belcher scored six. All five of North's field goals in the second were 3-pointers, to go along with a pair of free throws from Peyton Whitted (eight points, seven rebounds).

Mill Creek was led by 12 points from Nadiya Miller, while Kathleen Haxton and Meredith Schulte each added nine points.

North also enjoyed a solid advantage on the boards, collecting 24 rebounds to 13 for Mill Creek.