The Norcross Blue Devils met the North Gwinnett Bulldogs for the fourth time on the hardwood this season in the GHSA Girls AAAAAA championship final and the Blue Devils came away 63-42 victors to even the season series and claim their third title in four years.
“There’s no better treat than this,” Norcross senior Diamond DeShields said. “Tonight we all played for each other. This is a genuine love and genuine family we have out here at Norcross. It’s more than just a team, it’s a community. Every game we’ve got this big crowd out here cheering for us and we’ve really done a lot for women’s basketball at Norcross.”
DeShields was recently named the Naismith Player of the Year and she ends her high school career with a game-high 24 points. The University of North Carolina signee is widely considered the best basketball prospect in America.
“All the awards I’ve gotten over this past month and all the experiences that I’ve had, I never would have gotten them without coach Hembree and without my teammates,” DeShields said. “I give them all the credit and I give God all the glory. We made history tonight and I’m glad to be a part of it.”
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The Bulldogs collected just 11 defensive rebounds as the Blue Devils shot a blistering 63% from the field. North Gwinnett struggled against an extremely physical Norcross defense and managed to shoot just 27%, including 6-of-22 from three-point range.
“We said that we had to play with a sense of urgency, and we said that we had to out-rebound them,” Norcross head coach Angie Hembree said. “That was huge for us and our kids did a great job of doing that. We also made free throws tonight and in the region title game we really didn’t. I’m just so proud of them I don’t know what to do.”
North Gwinnett’s Lexie Brown cut a 20 point fourth quarter deficit to just eight early in the period, but it wasn’t enough as she led the Bulldogs with 20. She will play for the University of Maryland next season.