Class AAAAAA girls: Norcross 76, Cherokee 43

Fourth-ranked Cherokee quite simply had no answer for Shayla Cooper and Diamond DeShields in the third round of the Class AAAAAA girls basketball tournament.

The two Norcross stars combined for 62 points as the third-ranked Blue Devils coasted to a 76-43 victory at Cherokee on Tuesday to advance to a semifinal matchup with Langston Hughes at 4 p.m. Saturday at Georgia Tech.

Cooper, who has signed with Georgetown, scored a season-high 34 points, including 22 in a first half in which she outscored the entire Cherokee team 22-17.

“She’s a hoss underneath,” Norcross coach Angie Hembree said of Cooper. “She can get it done, absolutely.”

DeShields, a North Carolina signee, had 18 second-half points and finished with 28. Both played sparingly in the fourth quarter, which was shortened to six minutes because of the mercy rule.

Norcross (26-5) survived a double-overtime game against second-ranked Parkview in the second round but had no such trouble against the Warriors. The Blue Devils led throughout, beginning with DeShields’ 3-pointer from the top of the key 14 seconds into the game. The two seniors scored Norcross’ first 18 points, with Cooper’s short shot in the lane making it 18-5 with 2:49 to play in the first quarter.

Norcross continued to add to the lead in the second quarter, and it was 39-17 at halftime after Sydney Marshall scored on a short jumper with 14 seconds to play in the half.

The Blue Devils then put the game away in the early minutes the third quarter, when DeShields scored nine points and Cooper six in a 15-0 run in the first 2:21 to make it 54-17. Norcross had its biggest lead of 40 points in the third quarter when Kolby Meeks’ 3-pointer made it 61-21, then matched it at 66-26 on a 3-pointer by DeShields.

“I feel good about the fact that we haven’t lost, yes,” Hembree said when asked if she is pleased with how her team is playing going into the semifinals. “We’re still winning, and hopefully we can keep surviving and advancing.”

Cherokee’s Aunisha Williams, the Region 5-AAAAAA player of the year, was held to seven points. Christie Mixon led the Warriors with nine points on three 3-pointers.

Cherokee, the Region 5 champion, finished the year 29-2. The Warriors had won 23 consecutive games since a 47-42 loss to county rival Creekview on Dec. 8.

Norcross (76): Sydney Marshall 2, Kolby Meeks 3, Diamond DeShields 28, Shayla Cooper 34, Sierra Butler 8, Allison Johnson 1, Bri Williams, Javonne Stanfield, Deja Smith, Nia Holloway, Bri Tanner, Audrey Holloway, Dya Dawson.

Cherokee (43): Kiana Howell 6, Christie Mixon 9, Bethany Huch 2, Morgan Darby 3, Aunisha Williams 7, Sydney Pefanis 6, Jenna Brannen 2, Audrisha Williams 6, Jordan Cox 2, Sydney Ross.

13 comments Add your comment

The One

February 26th, 2013
10:43 pm

The GHSA has to seriously take a look at doing basketball like they do in football When the best teams in the state are knocking each other off in the 2nd round their is something wrong. Or when all four teams from one region 6-AAAAAA girls (SW Dekalb, Stephenson, Tucker and Miller Grove are playing each other in the elite 8 when more than likely they are the four best teams in Girls AAAAA. The majority of the best teams are in the north side of the bracket so lesser teams make it to the final four and in some cases to the championship game when they have no chance of beating the stronger teams from the North. Let’s get it right GHSA.

Chap Johnson

February 27th, 2013
6:09 am

Also, why is it that teams making it to the third round are still having to go on the road and not play at a neutral site? It’s totally unfair. If a team can get that far, they deserve a neutral place to play (I.e. N Cobb vs Tift). Need to get a little more fairness in the schedule. Come on Georgia, get it right.

Max Sizemore

February 27th, 2013
7:53 am

@The One: First off, you have to have a playoff schedule which is set before the season starts, which means you can’t anticipate the best teams all coming from the same region. And you can’t seed them at any point anyway, because who would do that and how? Teams from the same region can meet in the elite 8 because the brackets are designed with a north-south bias and that’s done to make travel easier (remember, the games are played on a school night).
@Chap: Neutral sites cost money, and that is in short supply these days. Also if the quarterfinal games are played at a home gym only one team must travel (again, this is on a school night). Yes, it’s not fair, but it’s the best the GHSA can do under the circumstances.
In sum, the GHSA has done a very fine job over the years with state tournament bracketing.

Chicken Bone

February 27th, 2013
8:10 am

It’s a shame that Shayla and Diamond don’t stay in State and make our Georgia Universities tops in Womens basketball!


February 27th, 2013
9:44 am

The One, the previous two years 4 teams from Region 4 (Mceachern,NCobb,Hillgrove,Campbell or Harrison) drove all the way to Ft. Valley to play each other in the Elite 8. I would say it’s not ideal, but I don’t see a way of fixing it. Just take pride in the fact that you come from a strong region that gets you ready for battle.

The Man

February 27th, 2013
9:44 am

You can have a schedule set before the season starts and rank teams. Rank the teams making the playoffs, then let the higher seeds host in the first two rounds. Not that difficult. Max preps (I believe that’s the site) ranks all the teams in the state as it is. Other states do it.


February 27th, 2013
11:33 am

@TheOne,it will never change when the ones doing the brackets don’t have a CLUE as to what is going on, mainly because NONE of them ever played any type of sports growing up or in high school. Just like they probably thought the state wrestling was a success in Macon this year, but they didn’t have to pay $ 7.00 a day to park and mess with the traffic, since all of them where at the Marriott right next door.

Hubert Green

February 27th, 2013
12:41 pm

I guess Cherokee didn’t do much scouting. You give up 62 to their top two players?

Hubert Green, Jr

February 27th, 2013
3:58 pm

I guess Parkview didn’t do much scouting either since they gave up 40 of their 59 to the same pair?

Robert Montgomery

February 27th, 2013
6:19 pm

Yep, Cherokee was “out-manned” for sure; however, I thought it was kind of cheap to be up by 40 pts
at one point and still have either one or both of your big guns still playing. Hey Coach, they’ve got
their scholorships, they don’t need to pad their stats.


February 28th, 2013
12:16 am

V Chandler. I looked for you at game..North Cobb Girls beat Tifton and NC boys beat Tifton in a standing room only full gym…it was a barn burner for boys game.. Tifton was ahead in game till last 2:20 in 4th when the big kid from NC took over and NC “D” stop Tifton for the NC win…One of the best games in many years. Good Luck North Cobb, great team, coaches, and fans. Hope you win it all…


February 28th, 2013
7:32 am

JJ, thanks for the shout out. Maaan I am hoarse and tired about to go to work but so satisfied. My baby girl fought through a sore neck to drop 16 and her girls did their things. I must say I have never been more satisfied for a win than after our boys went into the belly of the beast and shook up the world. BG and Tadric are the truth, but just like our girls TEAM, our boys do it as a unit. Everyone stays in their lanes. The abuse we were getting from a group of Tift fan made this special. When our girls opened up a can, they resorted to calling our girls names and I responded with Scoreboard. When their boys went up on us, I sat there and applauded them. But it felt good to look at them as I walked out saying Scoreboard! Just wondering where all the loud mouth North Cobb will get blown out by 20+ people are?? Not to mention, this was done without our starting PG who has been out with an ACL. WarriorsComeOut2Plaaaaay!


February 28th, 2013
7:37 am

Correction, Loud Typing, LOL. Basketball is played between the lines, not on blogs or rankings. 5 good team players will usually beat 2 great players. Play tough teams early, learn from your loses and get ready when it’s money time.