Mill Creek High School students and fans definitely set the tone for the hysteria that took place between the Hawks and Norcross High School. MCHS defeated the Blue Devils twice last year in the regular season but fell to the Blue Devils 60-53 at home on Nov. 27. The Hawks didn’t play their best basketball and the week off from the court may have had something to do with that.
The Hawks opened its scoring drive with two shots from the charity stripe. Elijah Bryant kept the crowd on their feet after embarrassing a defender with his fancy footwork, got his own rebound and finished with a putback to the basket.
Mill Creek had the upper hand offensively until Norcross broke its deficit with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Blue Devils looked to extend the lead when the Hawks put them at the foul line but Norcross didn’t take advantage of the freebie. Yet, their missed opportunities didn’t seem to slow them down in terms of scoring as they sunk a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter.
Mill Creek has proven they can be a high scoring team yet they certainly had their struggles offensively. They tallied just 13 points midway through the second half. The Hawks committed nine fouls and that was how Norcross capitalized.
Trevon Shaw cut the deficit to six with a floater, followed by a beautiful spin move by Brandon Smith. Although the Hawks went into the locker room trailing, those two crucial plays allowed Mill Creek to keep a more respectable score going into half-time.
The Hawks came out of the half with a stronger presence defensively but the Blue Devils began to put in work again. They played simple yet fundamental basketball and grabbed a 12-point lead midway through the third.
With less than two to go, the Hawks pulled within five but they continued to send the Blue Devils to the free throw line which ultimately lessened their chances to taking their first region win. Shaw led the way with 16 points and TJ Christopher finished with 11.
The Hawks may have struggled against Norcross but they took care of business on the road against Meadowcreek High School. The Mustangs opened a scoring drive in a very unusual way. High school basketball players are prohibited from dunking during pre-game warm ups and the Hawks committed the penalty, giving the Mustangs two free throws shots and 2-0 lead.
TJ Christopher opened the Hawks scoring drive with a dunk and the Hawks took advantage of the momentum shift. They jumped out to an 11-6 lead with 4:11 left to play in the first quarter.
The Mustangs fired back to pull within three but the Hawks took flight and held onto a 6-point lead at the end of the first. Christopher nearly brought the back board down with a powerful one-hand slam that brought the house to its feet.
From there, the Hawks began to turn things down a notch but kept a decent lead over MHS through most of the second quarter. Mill Creek went into the locker room up 37-25 at the half.
The Mustangs pulled within seven in the second half but the Hawks wouldn’t allow the Mustangs to keep the energy on their side. Christopher continued to show his theatrics with a swift spin move to the hole. As the third quarter came to a close, the Mustangs went on a defiant scoring drive and were within an arm’s reach of taking the lead but, it seemed as though no matter how hard they tried, the Hawks would put their foot on the gas. The Hawks took a 74-60 win over the Mustangs.
Christopher and Bryant were in front with 15 points a piece while Shaw finished closely with 14. The Hawks will to return to action tomorrow night at home against Habersham Central High School. Showtime is set for 8:30 p.m.