The House of Blue turned into the House of Doom for region foe Norcross High School. The Hawks of Mill Creek High School took care of business on the road with a 63-55 statement win that sent a message to the rest of the 6A region: the Hawks are back.
“We just wanted to come back and make sure that everyone knows Mill Creek is still here,” said TJ Christopher.
The Hawks evened the series at one apiece this season and while Christopher isn’t keep track, Trevon Shaw is well aware of the past, present and future.
“We want to beat everybody. It doesn’t matter who they are,” Christopher said.
“This was my first time winning here. Last time we beat them two out of three times. This year we are tied [at] 1-1. We hope to see them later on down the road; it’s going to be a dogfight. I feel like we are the better team in the end,” stated Shaw.
Shaw set the tone early for the Hawks, which propelled them to 14-7 advantage late in the first quarter. However, the Blue Devils fought back to tie the game at 14 apiece.
MCHS captured the lead after a deadly 3-pointer, courtesy of Eric Ritland. Norcross handed the Hawks two points due to a goal tending call, putting them up 21-20.
Mill Creek continued to execute with great poise. Ball control, finesse and agility on both ends of the floor secured a 26-24 lead at the break.
They continued the momentum out of the half with a shot from behind the arc by Bryant. Shaw responded again for MCHS with a long three to go up 32-23. Shaw continued to ace deep shots which ignited a seesaw battle with Norcross at the 3-point line.
The Blue Devils took a 3-point lead at the top of the fourth but Ritland responded when he spun a defender out of his shoes for a lay up. Mill Creek went on to take an 11-point lead by creating turnovers along with great transitions down the court.
With four minutes left to play, fouls committed by the Hawks should have given Norcross the edge yet, they couldn’t benefit from the freebie. A lane violation forced NHS to yield its free throw attempts but Norcross would not go away as they pulled within three toward the bottom of the fourth.
The final two minutes pushed Mill Creek to govern offensively and Bryant had no problems in that department. He made an effortless move to the basket and that momentum shifted through the rest of the Hawks who pulled away late from Norcross.
Bryant delivered an offensive attack like no other; he drove the ball down the court single-handedly and was superb in 1-on-3 situations. Bryant finished with 19 points.
Christopher once admitted they were not playing up to their full potential; anyone from the outside looking in may not have any more reservations about the Hawks yet Christopher isn’t fully satisfied.
“We’re almost there. I feel like we could have beaten them better. We executed on offense and now all we have to do is get better on defense. That’s all I’m asking,” said Christopher.
Shaw had an outstandingnight on the floor and led the pack with 24 points.
“Shooting from the 3-point line is what I do best. They need me to shoot about eight a game, which is about 80 percent. I tried to do my best [with that to] lead my team to victory [that night],” said Shaw.
Shaw embedded encouraging words to his teammates prior to the start of the game and it certainly paid off.
“In the locker room, I told them we can’t be scared. I know we’re a young team but we have to work hard, get every loose ball and have confidence. Coach tells us, ‘You’re better than the man you are guarding.’ He tells us that in practice. We worked hard and never gave up,” Shaw said.
“One time in practice, we didn’t even have a ball for 30 minutes. We just kept going at it. I guess that paid off for us. In the long run, we are going to be a successful team,” said Shaw.
Mill Creek will return to the hardwood tomorrow night when they host
Dacula High School. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.