No. 2 Norcross travels to No. 1 North Gwinnett tonight (Tuesday) in what’s probably the biggest game of the girls basketball season so far.
Both are undefeated in Georgia. North Gwinnett is 15-0 overall and ranked No. 3 nationally by MaxPreps and No. 13 by USA Today. Norcross is 14-2 and has been in and out of national rankings as well.
Both teams have two players ranked in the top 60 nationally as recruits by ESPN. They are Diamond DeShields (signed with North Carolina) and Shayla Cooper (Georgetown) of Norcross and Lexie Brown (Maryland) and Peyton Whitted (Penn State) of North Gwinnett.
“Our girls are excited to play Norcross because we’ve had some great games against they, and our players have friends over on their team,’’ said Sellers, noting that DeShields and Brown, both top 15 national recruits, have been AAU teammates and friends for some time.
DeShields led Norcross to state championships in 2010 and 2011 and is one of six finalists for the Naismith Girls Player of the Year award. She’s averaging 26.2 points per game.
Aside from DeShields and Cooper, Norcross has at least four other college prospects in Kolby Meeks, Sierra Butler, Sydney Marshall and Javonne Stanfield.
North Gwinnett has six players who are expected to play Division I basketball, also. Aside from Brown and Whitted, they are junior Baylee Rexing (committed to Ole Miss), Joshulyn Belcher (recruited by UAB, Mercer, South Florida and others), Stephani Amichia (East Carolina, VCU, Georgia State) and sophomore Alyssa Munlyn (Georgia, Purdue, Kansas State).
Sellers downplays the hoopla and notes that the game has meaning within Region 7. The winner will be in first place. The two play again next week, and perhaps twice more after that in region and state tournaments.
“Granted, you have national rankings and that stuff, but that doesn’t seed you for region and state tournaments,’’ Sellers said. “’The significance of the game is that it’s a region game. And this game prepares us for the next step. They’ve got big, talented players that are well-coached.’’
By the way, there’s another good game at North Gwinnett tonight. The boys teams are pretty good, too. North Gwinnett is No. 5. North Gwinnett is No. 8. Check by at AJC.com tonight as Robert Haddocks will be filing a report for both games.