AAAAA basketball blog: Bolden helps North Gwinnett take lead in Region 7

Chris Bolden, the Georgia Tech signee who transferred from state champion Norcross to North Gwinnett in the offseason, is helping change the course of Region 7-AAAAA, as many expected. A senior guard, he scored 23 points in a key 69-56 victory against Peachtree Ridge (10-8, 5-3) on Friday. Earlier this week, Bolden scored nine points with seven rebounds in a victory against his former team. It’s not just Bolden. Against Peachtree Ridge, Danny Crawford made four 3-pointers in the first half. Against sixth-ranked Norcross (10-7, 7-1), A.J. Clements scored 21 points. North Gwinnett (12-7, 7-1) remains unranked. North Gwinnett has reached the state playoffs the past two seasons but not advanced a round since 2005.

Georgia teams struggle in Hilton Invitational

Georgia teams went 0-2 on Friday on the first day of the Hilton Invitational at Norcross. A third game was canceled because an Illinois team was snowed in. Dr. Phillips (15-4) of Orlando beat Berkmar (11-6) 77-50 despite five 3-pointers from Berkmar’s Yunel Brown, who has signed with Kennesaw State. Archer (12-7), the third-place team in Region 8, lost to Charlotte Christian (13-5) 68-47. Archer’s Bryan Hamlet scored 19 and helped hold Clemson-signee Patrick Rooks to six. South Gwinnett’s game against Orr Academy couldn’t be played because Orr couldn’t get a flight out of Chicago. Orr also was scheduled to play Greater Atlanta Christian on Saturday. South Cobb will take Orr’s place, organizers said.

Saturday’s schedule for the Hilton Invitational

2:30 p.m. – Harrison vs. Dr. Phillips (FL)

4 p.m. – Greater Atlanta Christian vs. Orr Academy (IL)

5:30 p.m. – Wheeler vs. Olympic (NC)

7 p.m. – Norcross vs. Charlotte Christian (NC)

8:30 p.m. – Columbia vs. United Faith (NC)

The games can be seen online at http://hiltoninvitational.ihigh.com

Harrison’s boys lead Region 4

Harrison’s boys (12-4, 7-1) have taken charge of Region 4 with victories against North Cobb (14-4, 6-2) and McEachern (7-8, 3-4) this week. Justice Morgan and Subby Adetujoye each scored 16 against McEachern. Ryan Blumenthal (15.4 points per game) is Harrison’s top scorer this season. Harrison plays Dr. Phillips on Saturday at Norcross.

Upcoming …

No. 1-ranked Milton (15-4, 7-0) plays at Northview (13-6, 6-1) on Tuesday in a game that will help decide Region 6. Milton beat Northview 86-51 in December, and that was without star point guard Charles Mann. Milton is 11-0 with Mann, a Georgia signee, in the lineup. … Westlake’s boys (15-2, 9-0) have forged a two-game lead in Region 2 and can settle things next week when they play at No. 1 contender and fifth-ranked M.L. King (13-5, 6-2) on Tuesday. Westlake is ranked No. 3.

Not much suspense in girls races

The front-runners among girls teams in AAAAA are clear-cut in most cases. No. 1-ranked McEachern (16-0, 7-0) holds a one-game lead over No. 9 Hillgrove (14-2, 6-1) in Region 4, but the score of their Jan. 13 game – 77-40 – is a clue where that race is headed. No. 6 Stephenson (14-4, 8-0) beat Luella (15-4, 6-2) 69-50 on Friday to open a two-game lead in Region 2. In Region 4, fifth-ranked Marietta (16-2, 7-0) holds a one-game lead over Woodstock (12-6, 6-1). They play again Feb. 7. In Region 6, seventh-ranked Alpharetta (14-3, 7-0) holds a three-game lead. Third-ranked Norcross (14-2, 8-0) leads fourth-ranked North Gwinnett (14-2, 7-1) in Region 7 after Norcross’ 48-37 victory over North on Tuesday. North had won 12 consecutive games. The rematch is Feb. 10, the final game of the regular season. In Region 8, second-ranked Parkview (19-0, 10-0) has a three-game lead.

Girls Night Out

Speaking of Norcross and North, they’ll be playing Saturday at Starr’s Mill in the Kay Yow Girls Night Out showcase. Here’s the schedule:

Noon – Rockdale County vs. McIntosh

1: 30 p.m. — Habersham Central vs. North Clayton

3 p.m. — Dutch Fork (SC) vs. North Gwinnett

4:30 p.m. – Bob Jones (AL) vs. Wesleyan

6 p.m. – Potter’s House Christian (FL) vs. Girls Prep Academy (TN)

7:30 p.m. – Center Point (AL) vs. Norcross

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