What was supposed to be a highly-contested region basketball matchup turned into an ugly scene between Mill Creek and Norcross High School.
Shayla Cooper, who plays for the Blue Devils, had many questioning her character after a handful of hard fouls. The Georgetown University commit was issued an intentional foul after blatantly hitting one the Hawks toward the end of the ball game.
Norcross won the tipoff but the Hawks drew first blood with a 3-pointer by Kathleen Haxton. Norcross responded with a three of its own and went on to take an early 11-5 lead. Meredith Schlute ended the scoring absence but the Hawks’ four-point deficit climbed back up to eight as the Blue Devils showed no mercy on every drive to the basket.
Paige Orangio made a nice turnaround jumper and Nadiya Miller drained a long three for the Hawks. Despite their efforts, they trailed by six with less than 3 minutes in the first half. Turnovers were the name of the game for both teams in the first half but Norcross cleaned up their mistakes. Diamond DeShields scored 33 points for the Blue Devils and many of them came from the free throw line.
Schlute hit a big one from behind the arc to bring the Hawks within three yet the Blue Devils had a response every time the Hawks drilled one through the net. The Hawks took their woes into locker room with a 7-point deficit. They opened the second half with a nice drive to the basket but it was quickly overshadowed by Norcross which continued to dominate on both ends of the floor.
The Hawks continued to face the same struggles they’d been up against all night and couldn’t overcome the deficit. The Blue Devils may have tried to control Mill Creek but the Hawks steamrolled right past Meadowcreek High School in its second conference matchup.
Meredith Schlute came right out of the gate and opened fire with a shot from behind the arc. India Dillard nailed two shots from the charity stripe which helped garner an early 4-point lead for Mill Creek and Nadiya Miller put the icing on the cake by extending its lead by seven.
The Hawks team can really shoot ball well from the 3-point line. Once Schlute and Haxton get warmed up, they are hard to tame and are not afraid to take open shots. They continued to do what they do best over the Mustangs, a team which didn’t have enough giddy-up in the gallop to keep up with the Hawks.
By the end of the first quarter, the Hawks saw more than their usual starting lineup. With 2:42 left to play before the half, the Hawks were rolling 40-18 and didn’t show any signs of letting up. Mill Creek spent a lot of time vacationing at the free throw line and it played an intricate part in how they made their money.
The second half showed a faster Meadowcreek team but even the Hawks reserves couldn’t be matched by the Mustangs. Things may have gotten a little sloppy in the second half but overall Mill Creek played a solid game all around.
“We wanted to focus on our man defense. We tried to do a good job with that which was up and down…it wasn’t great,” said Head Coach Ashley Phillips. “We tried to do the basic things we do. I tried to let the kids play a little but more because they didn’t play [a lot] against Norcross.”
“They have to get out there when they have the opportunity. That’s how you learn. They have to get something out of it,” said Phillips.
The Hawks reserves certainly got the playing time they deserved and needed. The Hawks will be back in action tomorrow night at home against Habersham Central High School. Show time is set for 7 p.m.