Class AAAAAAA results from West Georgia

Article and photos courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution –> Original Article Here

The Class AAAAAAA boys and girls basketball semifinals are being played at the University of West Georgia on Saturday. The winners advance to play in the AAAAAAA championship games on Saturday at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion.

Below are results of Saturday’s games. This page will be updated after each game.

Boys: Norcross 67, Grayson 48

Norcross put a little distance between itself and Grayson late it the first half while its star forward, Rayshaun Hammonds, sat on the bench with foul trouble.

When the Georgia signee returned at the start of the third quarter, the Blue Devils put the game away.

Hammonds finished with 20 points, 16 rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots as the fifth-ranked Blue Devils (26-5) returned to the championship game for the seventh time in 13 seasons. Norcross was the runner-up in 2005 before winning titles in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2013.

Norcross led 22-19 when Hammonds went to the bench with eight points and two fouls with 5:13 to play in the second quarter. But the Blue Devils outscored Grayson 10-4 over the next four minutes and went into halftime with a 32-24 lead.

“That was all because of Robert Sims,” Norcross coach Jesse McMillan said. “He completely changed the energy of the game. When you lose your best player, it can go one of two ways. But you have a guy who maybe doesn’t get as much playing time, coming in and rebounding and blocking shots, it changes everything.”

Sims had the first basket in Norcross’ half-ending run and added two rebounds and four blocked shots in 10 minutes of play.

Hammonds made his mark when he returned, scoring the Blue Devils’ first four points of the third quarter, and his three-point play gave the Blue Devils a 48-32 lead with 2:41 to play in the quarter. Grayson never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.

Norcross outrebounded Grayson 39-22 and finished with 11 blocked shots. Kyle Sturdiyant had 14 points and Lance Thomas added 12 for the Blue Devils.

The smaller Rams stayed close for a while with their 3-point shooting. Joey Chavez made three and had 11 points, all in the first half, and Travis Anderson made two. Anderson led Grayson with 14 points.

Grayson, the only No. 3 seed to make it to the semifinals, finished 21-10.

Girls: Norcross 37, Collins Hill 30

Vanessa Blagmon scored 13 points and Taylor Mason had 11 as top-ranked Norcross held off No. 4 Collins Hill to reach the championship game for the fifth time in eight seasons.

The Blue Devils won titles in 2010, 2011 and 2013 and finished as the runners-up two seasons ago.

“Survive and advance,” Norcross coach Angie Hembree said. “We played a great defensive team and were really outsized. I think my kids have huge heart. It was a great effort and I’m so proud of them. Now we’re going to the finals again.”

Collins Hill (25-5) took its only lead of the game at 2-0 on a layup by Kayla Dixon with 5:47 to play in the first quarter. That was the only field goal of the half for the Eagles, who were just 1-for-22 from the field in the first two quarters.

Norcross (29-2) had its own early problems offensively and was not able to pull away away. The Blue Devils were just 6-for-18 from the field and led 19-6 at halftime behind eight points from Mason.

Collins Hill’s second basket of the game was a jumper by Dixon with 7:32 to play in the third quarter. That cut the lead to 19-8 and started a 16-5 run that got the Eagles back to within two points after a 3-pointer by Katherine Fourie with 1:32 to play in the quarter.

Collins Hill eventually closed to within 27-26 on a layup by Bria Harmon midway through the fourth, but Norcross never surrendered the lead. Collins Hill’s Javyn Nicholson scored all of her team-leading nine points in the second half and finished with 18 rebounds.

The Blue Devils put the game away by going 6-for-8 from the free-throw line, including 3-for-4 by Blagmon, in the final 1:11.

Norcross got a boost off the bench from Morgan Robinson, who had three points, six rebounds and a steal in 14 minutes. Blagmon and Mason also had six rebounds each, and Devyn Wilson led the Blue Devils with seven.

Norcross was 11-for-37 from the field (29.7 percent) for the game and had 12 turnovers, although only three came in the second half. Collins Hill was 10-for-49 (20.4 percent) from the field.

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