Final score: Norcross 59, Milton 55 — say what? Biggest upset in championship? Ever? (UPDATED)


We’ll let the photo speak first for Norcross High’s 59-55 upset over Milton in the Class AAAAA state championship. (You’ll have your chance below)

Norcoss celebrates after improbable win over the nation's No. 4-ranked team (Photo by the AJC's Hyosub Shin)

Norcoss celebrates after improbable win over the USA's No. 4-ranked team (Photo by the AJC's Hyosub Shin)

I certainly didn’t see that coming. Did you?

Even with the loss, Milton had perhaps the most talent-loaded roster the state of Georgia has ever seen. When your sixth man has committed to Auburn, you’re pretty good.

Milton was pretty darn good this season, representing the state very well against out-of-state competition. It’s the last couple of minutes of the state championship that will be replayed forever in the minds of Milton supporters.

What happened to the No. 4-ranked team by USA Today?

Norcross SG Chris Bolden aka Mr. MVP (AJC photo)

Norcross SG Chris Bolden aka Mr. MVP (AJC photo)

Maybe Norcross simply had a better night?

You have to give Norcross High a lot of credit. Even with a disastrous start to the regular season, Norcross was always considered the only team with enough manpower to threaten Milton. They got it together just in time for the playoffs.

My state championship MVP: Norcross High’s Chris Bolden. Four straight free throws in the final 29 seconds for the margin of victory.  He’s a junior committed to Miami.

Now it’s YOUR turn. What are your thoughts on the game?

Where does this rank among other upsets in the state championship game of Georgia high school basketball? Is Milton 2011 the best team to not win a state championship?

What went wrong? What went right? What did you see? What didn’t you see? What did you want to see? How do you feel about it?

We want to hear what you have to say about this thriller.

This game was a lot of fun to watch. Let’s talk. Thanks to both Norcross and Milton for a great season and great game.

Please note: Inappropriate comments will NOT be tolerated. Feel free to speak to about anything and everything that happened during the game. However, any personal attacks will NOT be tolerated.

113 comments Add your comment

Milton man

March 12th, 2011
1:40 am

It was the refs. We didnt get any calls.


March 12th, 2011
1:44 am

We looked completely lost in the final minute. Total confusion. I guess that’s what happens when you’re not used to playing in close games after blowing teams out by 30 points every game.


March 12th, 2011
4:25 am

Mark Smith High School in Macon (merged out of existence in 1970) beating Carver of Columbus
in the 1969 State Championship Game was probably the biggest upset in Georgia High School.It was the AAA game as there was no AAAA or AAAAA at the time.Mark Smith was a new school (4th year of existence) and predominantly white and was a class C size school but elected to play up as the other predominantly white schools in Macon were AAA and Carver was the super talented all black team with quite a history.No one gave Mark Smith a chance throughout the entire tournament but somehow they made it to the championship game.Mark Smith won in an absolutely stunning upset.Some sportwriters of the day labeled it one of the “greatest games ever” and “biggest upsets ever”.No one had ever heard of Mark Smith and the AJC writer used a headline of “Where’s Mark Smith” as the Championship game approached.That became the rallying cry.There is a website titled “Where’s Mark Smith” that chronicles it all.Unfortunately videotape was
new and rarely being used and there was no complete taping of the game but the radio call of the game is complete and unbelievable.Look it up and get a hint of a truly great game.

Norcross Supporter

March 12th, 2011
6:40 am

Blaming the refs — I would expect nothing less of Milton fans. Get over yourself — Your boys lost, LOST, CHOKED

Three Straight Plus One

March 12th, 2011
7:02 am

Probably the biggest upset playing against one of the all time best teams in GA history!!!!!!!!

They should make a movie about this 2011 Norcross Team. I was there in the fall league when they went 12-0 and I saw some potential. I was there when they got beat by their rival region teams. It looked like they could not win on the road. And it started at home…one win after another.

What an incredible win!!!!!

Titletown Fan

March 12th, 2011
7:16 am

It is just proof to me that Milton was a collection of AAU athletes and not a true “team” in the sense of the word. There is no way I can understand anyone labeling them as the best ever in Georgia, not even close when you think of the SW Macon and Albany(Westover/Monroe) teams of the past. A fitting end to a story of recruiting players in my opinion.


March 12th, 2011
7:30 am

Milton was def not playing their best this game. The beginning was chaos with so many missed shots and what appeared to be disorganization. I believe Milton came into this game a little ‘cocky’ because they were the favs to win, won last season and have so many college promised players. Norcross wanted it more than Milton…and they took it. I am very happy for the girls and boys Norcross teams.

Norcross is No Better

March 12th, 2011
7:31 am

Im glad Milton lost bc im not a fan of Boyd. But all the Norcross fans can get off their high horse bc they recruit just as much as anybody. I wish they could have both lost somehow.


March 12th, 2011
7:33 am

Enter your comments here


March 12th, 2011
7:35 am

on the other blog I called it. Milton had a major deficiency in their game. They had no low post. I mentioned if Norcross could keep the score in the fifties they could win. Milton also lost on the boards. I said make Shannon Scott beat you and play everyone else straight up. make Scott score 30. Not struggling in any game makes a difference in the close ones and maybe Norcross losing in the beginning made them stronger when it counted.


March 12th, 2011
7:36 am

Milton man- you blame the refs after last year. The worst single call I have ever seen in basketball.


March 12th, 2011
7:38 am

THAT WAS THE BEST FINAL EVER PERIOD. Yes I am from Norcross. Yes I counted them out and was frustrated at all of the turnovers….. but they stuck in there….. the difference…. coaching. No disrepect intended but Milton was out coached….. Congrats Norcross. Milton played a great game was lightning fast and their guards were unbelievable…… The refs called it tight from the start…. and yes 4 free throws in the last 27 seconds won the game but… imho… COACHING unbelievable. Hats off to both Girls and Boys for bringing the hardware home.

Norcross Fan

March 12th, 2011
7:45 am

Norcross was determined to beat Milton after last years upsetting loss during the semi-finals.


March 12th, 2011
7:51 am

The refs did nothing wrong. I saw missed calls for both teams. Milton being champs from last year, the favs for this year and having a bunch of college promised players…came in with a chip on their shoulder. And yes, Norcross knocked it off. I’m glad they did too. These boys need a dose of reality before going to college and possibly to the NBA. Norcross wanted the win worse than Milton….and they took it. I’m so very happy for Norcross boys and girls.


March 12th, 2011
7:59 am

How do you lose a 15 point lead in the state championship game? All I saw the Milton coach do all night: stand, make a fist and high 5 his players as the came off the floor.
The Norcross coach is a great cheerleader though.
Norcross wasn’t as physical and didn’t get away with murder like they usually do – #50 did throw a mean elbow and got caught. They do play like thugs.


March 12th, 2011
8:02 am

big deal both team recruit players. i feel bad for the honest schools that can’t get that far into the final 4 or 2. look who wins in other divisions. recruiting is gone too far in ga. sports.

True Blue

March 12th, 2011
8:20 am

Buck how do thugs play explain in detail. Milton lost because the big three didn’t play the last 5 minutes of the game. Yes they were out there but seem lost and let no.22 do all the crazy shooting.


March 12th, 2011
8:25 am

Wne if you are complaining about recruiting then you don’t really know what you are talking about. Norcross does it just as much as Milton. And questioning them playing as a team??? These kids have been on the same summer team since like 7th grade. They are a good team but just had a bad night. Gotta give credit to norcross too though. Hella game boys


March 12th, 2011
8:26 am

The Milton coach lost this game. He went too conservative too early. He should have let them play in the fourth quarter the way they did the rest of the game. Instead he had them just passing the ball around killing clock. The national ranking must have clouded his thinking!

Love Milton, Hate Milton Mercenaries

March 12th, 2011
8:34 am

Most people in Milton are glad these mercenaries lost. We are embarrassed that our Principal, David Jones, and our athletic director, Jamie Dixon, supported a coach and a team of players who are not from Milton. There were two local boys we could root for, Julian Royal and Evan Nolte. Hearing the principal and AD say these boys have put Milton on the map is infuriating.

Milton HS is one of the oldest and best academic schools in the state. It is a rare National Blue Ribbon school which does exceptionally well in test scores, college placements, academic competitions, etc., with kids who are actually from Milton! Our misguided principal and AD should be canned immediately along with David Boyd, who is a horrendous representative of our community.

When you ask any of those three people how they can justify having a team of outsider mercenaries at Milton, they tell you that they have complied with GHSA rules. That isn’t completely true, of course, but they do make a good point. The GHSA is the only entity which can stop this ridiculous practice of recruiting kids from other areas, renting apartments for them near the school, and having the athletes stay with friends during the week while they compete for the school. Until the GHSA takes a stand, this will go on forever. If you hate the practice, complain to the GHSA.

I don’t know whether Norcross recruited also or not, but I sure am glad Milton lost. They were just an overrated AAU team with a coach who can only recruit, not actually coach.


March 12th, 2011
8:44 am

Milton could have stopped the momentum shift but like the poster said, they went into the four corner stall instead of doing what they do best pressing and pushing the ball. A little pressure was what gave Milton the 15 point lead. It was a great game though….. and for once in the championship game THAT was a refreshing change. TIred of blowouts. Again, I think Milton was outcoached…. they had the talent. NHS– be humble in your victory!


March 12th, 2011
8:46 am

Hey Milton You said it best. “These kids have been on the same summer team since like the 7th grade.” But did they go to the same schools since the 7th grade?


March 12th, 2011
8:47 am

This shouldn’t be considered much of an upset. Norcross could have easily one the Championship last year if it weren’t for a controversial call that handed Milton the one point win with no time on the clock. I know this year’s team is not exactly the same, but Norcross has a recent tradition of having great players and great teams. They have won their 4th State Championship in 6 years and they have 3 former players currently playing in the NBA.

Norcross Mom

March 12th, 2011
8:57 am



March 12th, 2011
9:08 am

I agree that no one from Gwinnett County can complain about anyone else recruiting. Should not be allowed, but there is money to be made. I recall in1976, 1977 or 1978, Southwest Macon beat Northeast Macon four times (2 regular season, subregion and region championships) only to lost to them in the state title game. Jeff Malone (Mississippi State & Utah Jazz) and Terry Fair (UGA) along with a number of other college players were on that Southwest team. I’m going only from memory here. AAA was the highest level back then. I played class B ball at Dacula, graduating in 1977, and I think it was the same year I graduated. That was quite a big upset. Can you imagine beating a team 4 times, only to lose in the state title game?

unbiased fan

March 12th, 2011
9:18 am

michael called it correctly. Milton’s weakness in in the low post. they were out rebounded and outplayed down low. Nolte at 6′ 8″is more of a finesse player and outside shooter. Royal was no factor in semis or finals. Milton’s perimeter game is very impressive, but they couldn’t match up with Norcross’s atheletic igs inside. A guy like Tony Parker from MGHS would give them fits.

unbiased fan

March 12th, 2011
9:20 am

Athletic bigs….


March 12th, 2011
9:24 am

Well, The truth finally rises to the surface. I wonder how good a coach Boyd would be if he had to coach in Homerville or Pelham?


March 12th, 2011
9:46 am

unbiased fan- most people don’t really understand basketball and the value of the low post.I have been watching since 1964 and even saw the Texas Western-UK game. Kentucky had the same problem in that game as Milton had. Lattin dominated in that game. I even played until I was 46 years old. Most people are fooled by the flash but there is no substitute to dominating the boards. Milton rarely got an offensive rebound. You need dirty points as they say.


March 12th, 2011
9:48 am

Mike you got it right. Milton was too conservative to soon. Plain and simple Mcmillan just out coached Boyd. Great game.

cattle dawg

March 12th, 2011
9:50 am

Let me understand, Milton out recruits Norcross but lost because they got outcoached?

good job to both teams

March 12th, 2011
9:54 am

Milton high school has worked there buts of this entire year. i have been to every single game and saw those boys sweat blood, look at shannon scott he has big shoes to fill with his fathers 9 seasons with the lakers, look at dai-Jon parker worked his but of all year playing throughout the game from start to finish, look a Julian royal big guy who has known the team almost all his life great player , jordan loyd one of the nicest players on the team led the team through ruff parts, shaquille johnson man wow that kid can plunge dunks left to right, evan noltie nice person great 3 pointers ………… the people who play on this team work like crazy, tough coach but they have gotten so far it is almost incredible these boys have the gift to get on the court play ball and have a great time while doing it all the comments here are disgusting none of those people have any idea how hard it is for-those boys i saw norcross play they have talent and im not one to put other teams down of their victories but i team i like to use allot is that if you have nothing to say nice dont say anything at all both teams did what they do best but to see milton lose and to see those great basketball players cry was one of the hardest things i have ever seen good job to both teams

GO EAGLES…………………………………………….and a girl wrote this


March 12th, 2011
10:21 am

*and a girl wrote this….. wow this is 2011 you know…. we dont have to make excuses for being sports savvy. Glory Days Mike… every one knows the point guard is the most important player…. they drive the game but you are right you have to have the boards. Norcross out rebounded 19-10 the first half… dont know the stats for second half but when the ball was PUSHED up the court by Milton they ran UP the score. When they played stall half court and dribbled way too much…. the margin decreased. Great game. neither team should holler too loud or hang their head… nature of the beast and why BASKEBALL is such a great spectator sport– ONE game can go either way many times when good teams meet. Congrats to both teams….

Lifelong Georgia HS fan

March 12th, 2011
10:42 am

It stinks that the schools that obviously recruit end up winning the state each year (Norcross, Milton, wheeler, etc). It’s a shame that the GHSA has not / will not crack down on this stuff. It’s the adults and shady AAU characters pulling the strings behind these “programs” that need to be shut down. It only hurts the kids in the end. Look what happened to Kendrick at Memphis. All that coddling at Wheeler got him what?? He needed help a LONG time ago.


March 12th, 2011
10:49 am

To me it was just overhype. Looks like the PG should have passed the ball several times on the break instead of going 1 on 3. I saw a little selfish basketball the last two periods. But congrats to Norcross. The better transfer team won, ha ha. Just kidding. Norcross looked like a complete team and they played well as a team. Milton had too many ME players.

Milton Dad

March 12th, 2011
11:00 am

Norcross played a great 4th qtr – Boyd was outcoached, players were outplayed. period. Still love my boys. They are great kids. Not sure why Boyd couldn’t have coached his way out of that half court trap defense Norcross through out. It totally disrupted Milton’s flow and changed the momentum. I thought when Milton went up by like 14 it was business as usual. Norcross coach pulled off somebrilliant coaching at that point – both motivationally and tactically. Congratulations Norcross players, parents and coaches. Congratulations Milton players coaches and parents on a great season. It was a special time to follow Milton basketball.

Gwinnett Fan

March 12th, 2011
11:09 am

Congratulations to all the Gwinnett teams!

MC 12

March 12th, 2011
11:49 am

This was not an upset. They are two good teams with good players. Milton just got more exposure than Norcross because of Norcross slow start and the colleges the two teams players are going to. Being in the right place at the right time means so much when it comes to how good a player really is. There was a lot of weaknesses in the players we label as ballers. The real ballers show up in a big way in big games. How many of the players we felt were real ballers showed up the last few days?

Norcross Champ '09-'10

March 12th, 2011
11:53 am

You all make good points and I am glad that my girls won another state championship after my year. I am proud of them. The boys had a tough time at the beginning of the game but they came back because I do believe that we wanted it more because of how we were cheated last year. Chris Bolden did an excellent job playing his game but I would have to give the MVP to #50 for staying on the boards when it was needed. And as for the comment of him playing like a thug, if you cant take a hit dont get in the paint. POINT BLANK PERIOD!! Basketball is a contact sport!!……..And recruiting isn’t such a big deal. You do what you have to do to win!

B-TOWN Reppin

March 12th, 2011
12:14 pm

IMHO Miller Grove should have been the higher ranked team seeing how they beat Milton earlier this season. Btw Milton has great talent and a really good. However; when you go into enemy territory you’ve got to take the crowd out of the game and run the score up. They eased up off the gas and it caused them a state title. Not to take anything away from Norcross whose crowd literally willed them to victory but the 5A title was Milton’s to lose


March 12th, 2011
12:42 pm

The refs were to blame? Do they shoot the ball or rebound the ball or play defense? Really? Sour grapes. Norcross was the better team when it counted.

just telling it like it is

March 12th, 2011
12:48 pm

It doesn’t really matter…both teams are public high schools that recruit players…..its sad really .


March 12th, 2011
1:04 pm

Yall call us thugs but we just stayed focused and played with complete and total passion……@ NHS it’s called SWAGG
mostly known as style, unique part of what makes you different than the other players in a particular way. the way you carry yourself(confidence).


March 12th, 2011
1:36 pm

Miller Grove best TEAM in Georgia,…THE COUNTRY!


March 12th, 2011
1:42 pm

In basketball defense & rebounding wins championships! Norcross beat Milton with those two things plus showed more hart\will! LOVED! The way McMillan kept changing the D up in the 2nd half! That’s how D should be played in basketball! I’d like to see UGA’s Mark Fox do more of that!


March 12th, 2011
2:20 pm

Thank goodness… maybe Milton can get rid of Boyd and stop the thug recruiting and go back to having a team that reflects the school’s student body


March 12th, 2011
2:41 pm



March 12th, 2011
3:55 pm

too say that milton has players that play selfishly is absurd. these players play so well together and have been for a long time. just cause they had a bad night doesn’t mean that norcross is the better team. obviously you didnt see them play oak hill, winter park(twice) and any other game during the regular season. milton is way better team. norcross had better night


March 12th, 2011
4:20 pm

can’t blame the refs, royal did not come ready to play these past two days, I thought loyd and johnson would be able 2 carry their momentum from the night before. Boyd never went to his 1-3-1 zone that gave every team they play problems, why idk. But as far as the biggest upset, Norcross was pre season number 7 in the Nation, so as far as the “biggest upset” no. It definitely was an upset but this team matched up with milton the best, very similar in size and skill level. They had 4 d1 starters and herbert could go d1 so potentially 5.


March 12th, 2011
4:54 pm

MGHS is not the best team in the state. I think Columbia is better and deeper and better coached. I mean MGHS didnt win a state title in 4A until columbia dropped to 3A. CHS has 2 in state losses while playing MGHS & Tucker in their home gym, and the refs played a major roll in both losses. CHS going for their 4th title in 6 years. LETS GO EAGLES