Class AAAAAA Girls Final: Norcross 63, North Gwinnett 42

By S. Thomas Coleman
For the AJC

Cut it out, Diamond. And you too, Shayla.

The best girls high school basketball player in America, Diamond DeShields, and her dynamic sidekick, Shayla Cooper, showed up big time on Saturday night, putting all of their skills on display. And their teammates showed why they are far from chopped liver, as Norcross rolled to its third state championship in the last five years in Georgia’s largest classification, with a 63-42 win over Region 7-AAAAAA rival North Gwinnett.

DeShields led all scorers with 24 points and grabbed four rebounds, while Cooper added 20 points and eight boards, to lead the onslaught. DeShields, headed to North Carolina, and Cooper, headed to Georgetown, outplayed North Gwinnett’s Big Two, Lexie Brown, headed to Maryland, and Peyton Whitted, headed to Penn State. Brown finished with 20 points while the 6-foot-3 Whitted scored seven points and had just two rebounds.

Norcross had dropped two of the three games it played against the Bulldogs this season, including the region tournament championship. But the Blue Devils came out firing on all cylinders, on offense and defense, in the state final.

With the game tied at nine midway through the first quarter, DeShields and Cooper took command for Norcross. The pair went on a 10-4 run – DeShields with 6, Cooper with 4 – to give the Blue Devils a 19-13 lead after one quarter.

Norcross continue the spurt in the second period, and a mid-range jumper by DeShields gave the Blue Devils a 28-15 lead at the four-minute mark of the period. But as she did all night, Brown attempted to keep the Bulldogs in it by responding with a deep three-pointer. But a member of the Blue Devils supporting cast, junior forward Kolby Meeks, answered with four consecutive points to spark a 6-3 run to end the half with Norcross on top 34-21.

The lead grew to 17, 40-23, midway through the third quarter, when DeShields banked home a half-court lob pass from Cooper. A couple of minutes later, DeShields brought the crowd in the Macon Centreplex to its feet when she grabbed a rebound in the backcourt, spun away from a trap, and went coast-to-coast, finishing with a flying one-hander along the baseline to push the Blue Devil lead to 44-25.

Cooper got in on the fun on the next possession, when she scored on a put-back and was fouled, and then completed the three-point play as the margin swelled to 47-25.

But North Gwinnett fought back valiantly heading into the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs went on an 11-0 run, with Brown scoring eight points, to cut the lead to 48-36 midway through the period.

But that was as close as North Gwinnett would get, as Norcross pulled the ball out to shorten the game and made good on 9-of-11 free throws down the stretch to win going away.

Norcross (63) – Diamond DeShields 24, Shayla Cooper 20, Sierra Butler 7, Kolby Meeks 6, Bri Williams 4, Sydney Marshall 2.

North Gwinnett (42) – Lexie Brown 20, Joshlyn Belcher 9, Peyton Whitted 7, Stephanie Amichia 6.

20 comments Add your comment


March 9th, 2013
11:28 pm

The score is 2-2 between Norcross and NG. Too bad there isn’t another game to finalize.


March 9th, 2013
11:50 pm

Congratulations to Norcross on winning both Boys and Girls State Basketball Titles! :-)


March 9th, 2013
11:56 pm

Surprised to see the lack of class shown by Norcross players, both boys and girls, and Norcross fans. And this was televised. Sad.

North Cobb fan

March 10th, 2013
12:56 am

Congrats to Norcross girls. Great win. Diamond Deshield is such an amazing player to watch. I was glad Norcross won because the head coach of North Gwinnett during the meeting with the captains of each team of the final four game between North Cobb told our players that they were not that good. I guess North Gwinnett wasn’t that good tonight.

Gwinnett Tax Payer

March 10th, 2013
1:30 am

I wonder who will lead Norcross next year, the rest of the team is not very good and regularly scores less than 20 pts per game (as a team) while the dynamic duo does all the scoring for Norcross. Great game Diamond & Shayla, I wish u both much success in ur collegiate careers. It was wonderful watching u ladies represent this great state.

Parkview fan

March 10th, 2013
1:34 am

weakest championship game ever seen…..Parkview/Norcross second round game should have been play tonight in Macon and not in the second round….come on GHSA….

Gwinnett resident

March 10th, 2013
1:50 am

congrats to the blue devils on their double titles….the question is, who runs the show in AAAAAA now that Deshield, Cooper, Davis are all done….Welcome Parkview Panthers for maybe the next three years…..


March 10th, 2013
3:07 am

Congrats To Norcorss Boys and Girls On A Statement Win! For those who already counting Norcross out for next year…think again! What many of you don’t know is that 5 of the girls that’s coming back all being playing togather since middle school. Two are starters. Bri Williams and Kolby Meeks. They know what it takes to win. These 5 coming back are 7th and 8th champs, playing against the same girls they’re playing now. “Not that good really”….D1 offers are already one the table for the supporting cast (as the media says) but you will never know because the media only focus on Norcross 2 best players. Continue to doubt, we thrive off that.


March 10th, 2013
3:34 am

Great accomplishment to both the girls & boys.


March 10th, 2013
6:46 am

Transfers coming don’t worry


March 10th, 2013
6:50 am

Not joking since 22 leaving, they will have some and I really think and this is my opinion! MG boys, St X, NHS girls didn’t have great competition. Wasn’t impressed with this new classification!


March 10th, 2013
8:08 am

Knowing what it takes by sitting and watching and actually doing what it takes are 2 different things. When 2 players score 50 of your 59 points that says alot. Black is right, let the ‘move ins’ begin.


March 10th, 2013
8:13 am

Congrats to Norcross on their win and Congrats to North Gwinnett on a great season. Good luck to ALL the young ladies from ALL of the High School teams who are going to continue playing basketball in College. At the end of the day, it’s all about the young ladies and as a fan of Girls Basketballl thanks for the great season ladies!!!!

Jay B.

March 10th, 2013
8:17 am

Congrats to Norcross on their win and Congrats to North Gwinnett on a great season. Good luck to ALL the young ladies from ALL of the High School teams who are going on to play basketball in College. At the end of the day, it’s all about the young ladies and as a fan of Girls Basketballl thanks for the great season ladies!!!!


March 10th, 2013
9:42 am

Diamonds are a Blue Devils Best Friend. The Norcross girls are all Diamonds as well as the N Gwinnett girls Both schools and teams are a class act. Congrats to both teams. Both schools in reality are winners.

Negativity Never Rests, I Guess

March 10th, 2013
9:56 am

Within hours of the game, some people have to get online and say negative things about high school kids winning a championship! Talking about kids, Gwinnett Tax Payer says, they’re “not very good.” And Obvious, yeah, they put up 50 of 59 on Parkview, true. Kinda like Pippen and Jordan use to do with their supporting cast. A team wins with what it has…Norcross had the #1 player in the USA and the #20 kid in the USA…of course they’re going to get theirs. That was this playoff run’s formula, and no one could stop it. Those juniors at Norcross can play. I don’t think DeShields or Cooper ever had to defend the other teams’ best players this year…the supporting cast did that. The leading rebounder last night? A junior. Assist leader? Another junior. Norcross’ junior centers combined for 10 and 10. And btw, there has not been a move-in at NHS for the girls in 3 seasons. Last reason they’ll still be good next year is they have a great coaching staff. Well done, Norcross, and well done, Gwinnett Co. The 3 best girls teams in AAAAAA were from Gwinnett, AA girls champs, AA boys champs, AAAAAA boys champs…


March 10th, 2013
10:46 am


Walt Bellemy #8

March 10th, 2013
2:23 pm

@Black, Why do you bring in ST X? they are a AAA school. You say you weren’t impressed but you mention them,MG and NGwnt. Hmm guess you were or you would of said not impressed with anyone else. Have you not gotten over being cut in BB in middle school yet? MG can certainly play with any team in AAAAAA


March 10th, 2013
2:48 pm

Classic material #8 is that your rec number! I was saying with st x playing NG the competition! I like two guards from x. I think semi games for all classes were better!

Norcross Trueblue

March 11th, 2013
9:17 am

this comment is for Surprised.. apparently you have never attended a North Gwinnett vs Norcross home game.. talk about rude people.