Class AAAAAA boys: Norcross 60, Hillgrove 48

Brandon Goodwin has been the recipient of several scholarship offers from mid-major programs. After his performance in Saturday’s Class AAAAAA championship game he may expect to get a few more.

The senior continued his stellar play in the state playoffs by scoring 22 points to lead No. 3 Norcross to a 60-48 win over No. 5 Hillgrove at the Macon Coliseum. It was the fifth state championship over the last eight years for the Blue Devils, who last won the title in 2011.

The win gave Norcross the boys and girls basketball championship. The Blue Devils became the first school in the history of the Georgia High School Association to hold the both state basketball championships and the state football championship from the same school year.

“This means a lot, to end our senior year with a state championship,” said Goodwin, while clutching the silver championship trophy. “I wasn’t going to leave without getting one.”

Goodwin, who scored 26 in the semifinal win over North Cobb, led the Blue Devils with 22 points on 7-for-11 shooting with seven rebounds and two assists.

Norcross (27-6) also got 12 points from foul-troubled Ricky Madison and 11 points, four rebounds and three assists from Khalen Pinkett.

Hillgrove (29-4) was making its first appearance in the championship game but showed no signs of nerves. The Hawks were led by Keith Ray with 13 points and five rebounds and B.J. Brown with 12 points – all on 3-pointers – and a team-high seven rebounds.

The teams spent the first quarter getting used to the physical nature of a state championship game. Hillgrove scored on a pair of 3s by John Franklin and Ray and took a 10-9 lead when Kyle Castlin’s basket at the buzzer counted after a goaltending call.

The second quarter was one for streaks. Hillgrove scored the first 10 points of the period to complete a 12-0 run and take a 20-9 lead. But Norcross got its fast break in gear and ripped off 10 straight of its own to make it a one-point game, which is where it stayed at the half, as Hillgrove led 25-24 at the intermission.

The close nature of the game continued in the third quarter. Norcross tied it at 30-30 on a pair of free throws by Lorenzo Carter and the teams swapped the lead five more times before the end of the quarter. Norcross took a 41-39 lead on a basket and a free throw by Goodwin.

Norcross made its break early in the fourth quarter when Pinkett scored on consecutive trips to continue an 11-3 run that enabled the Blue Devils to take a seven-point lead, which they never came close to relinquishing.

56 comments Add your comment

Bball fan

March 10th, 2013
12:29 am

Congrats to Lorenzo carter from Norcross. First player to ever win back to back state titles for two different schools. Whitefield and Norcross. U represent everything thats wrong with high school sports today. No loyalty and and showing that today’s athlete has found an “I” in the word team

James

March 10th, 2013
12:53 am

It’s a done deal, all the titles are headed to some trophy case. Congrats to all the champs. Analyzing championships by county, the top 3 were DeKalb and Gwinnett with 4 each and Fulton with 2, Randolph, Henry, Wilkinson and Chatham with 1 each rounded up the 14 crowns. And if you give a crown to any one city, Norcross took away 4 titles (Norcross 2, GAC and Wesleyan), Decatur came in with 3 titles (Greenforest, SWD and Columbia) Congratulation to all the teams for a season of hard work and determination.

devilsneverdie

March 10th, 2013
12:56 am

@ballfan congrats to u for trashing a young man for being ambitious and maximizing his potential and exposure in both football and basketball he represents the very reason ga football and basketball is nationally recognized as some of the best in the country you might have a valid point if he left a public school but last time i checked Whitefield academy did not have a school district and he wasn’t even on scholarship

only a matter of time

March 10th, 2013
3:13 am

kudos to the Hillgrove team for fighting to the end. keep your heads up, remember how you felt coming off the floor tonight and let that be your motivation for your off season workouts. trust me,you did us proud. best of luck to the departing seniors in your next step where ever that may lead you. good job coach Morris and staff for having the boys playing meaningful bball in March. congrats to the Blue Devils and the fans over there. good game and hopefully we both get to do this again some time soon.

crimson

March 10th, 2013
3:26 am

Each team gave a “state finals”quality effort. However, the officiating crew for the game was horrible. Sad when officials make the game about themselves instead of the kids. Sad effort, especially the bald guy who obviously was enjoying the spotlight of the TV cameras.

Go Norcross!

March 10th, 2013
6:35 am

Congratulations to the “High School of Champions” — state titles in men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and football, all in the same year! First time in state history!

MJFadeAway

March 10th, 2013
7:44 am

Goodwin is one hell of a player…It’s going to be tough to recruit a kid to come in and fill his shoes.

North Cobb Orange

March 10th, 2013
7:56 am

This game, North Cobb’s 3-0 record against Hillgrove and North Cobb’s huge win over Tift confirms that last weeks Norcross/North Cobb game was the “real” championship game.

Walter Paul

March 10th, 2013
8:09 am

@ crimson. The officiating was a top shelf job. The crew was exactly what one would expect at a state championship game, the best of the best. They were never close to losing control of a rough game, but maintained that control without unduely disrupting the flow of the game by calling ticky tack fouls.

Hats off to the GHSA for selecting a great crew.

TheBlueDeegs

March 10th, 2013
8:17 am

Norcross produced this win without their big man for the 2nd half, O’Donahue, who got hurt just when Norcross was coming of their 1st half funk. The final score would have been wider had he been around.

That was a great defensive job that Norcross put on Hillgrove’s scoring star, #11, who just scored 8 points.

North Cobb Orange

March 10th, 2013
8:22 am

Norcross’s accomplishment of the three championships is just amazing. Congratulations to the cast of 100s that made them happen.

Snakedaddy

March 10th, 2013
9:39 am

Norcross was too strong and too long. My hat is off to Hillgrove. Both schools are full of class. Congrats to Norcross. A double party with the girls winning. So break out the peanuts, pizza, pop, popcorn, pretzels, peach pies, potato chips, burgers, barbecue, bratwursts, baked beans, bananas,etc. Norcross take a bow.

The Man

March 10th, 2013
10:31 am

I have a difficult time understanding how the AJC allows annonymous people to put down high school kids, as bball fan has just done. While I don’t condone kids moving schools for athletic purposes, what gives bball fan and the AJC the right to negatively talk about a kid that I’m sure neither of them know? Sad state we’re in when readership is so important that the AJC allows this type of behavior to occur.

NORCROSSDAWG

March 10th, 2013
10:41 am

I TOLD EVERYBODY SO ! NORCROSS=TITLETOWN…NOW ITS BASEBALL TEAMS’ TURN…GO DEVILS

BLACK

March 10th, 2013
11:14 am

Congrats to Norcross.. job well done. Shouts out to Hillgrove on a great season.

@NORTH COBB ORANGE

March 10th, 2013
11:24 am

DUDE get that salty taste out of your mouth. You are starting to sound like a woman!

ZinoDawg

March 10th, 2013
11:47 am

Congrats to Norcross for making history. That is an amazing feat that may never be repeated.

Mr. Wolverine

March 10th, 2013
12:20 pm

Shots out to Norcross and Hillgrove for a great game. Congrats to Nocross, a strong program, with on of the best fan bases in high school basketball.

I look forward to seeing the final overall rankings, as I do every year after each champ is crowed.

This is my list (My Opinion, My List)..

1.a Eagles Landing
1.b Miller Grove
3. Norcross
4. Columbia
5. GAC
6. Greenforest
7. Johnson-Savannah
8.Wil-Co.
9. HIllgrove
10. Gainesville

If it were a GA Tournament of Champions
#1a. Eagles-Landing v. #8 Wil Co.
#1b. Miller Grove v. #7Johnson-Savannah
#3 Norcross v. #6 Greenforest
#4 Columbia v. #5 GAC

Winner of Eagles Landing/Wilco v. Columbia/GAC
Winner of Miller Grove/Johnson-Savannah v. Norcross/Greenforest

That could settle the debate on which team is the best in the state of Georgia.

Old Roswell Hornet

March 10th, 2013
1:14 pm

Congrats to this year’s state championship winners, but I must correct an error in your reporting about Norcross’ football and basketball state championships in the same school year. In fact, from Spring 1970 through Spring 1971 Roswell High won consecutive state championships in baseball-football-basketball-baseball again, which covered the 1970-1971 school year.

I appreciate your reporting, but wanted to correct the record in recognition of some of the great home-grown athletes of that era.

Camden74

March 10th, 2013
1:22 pm

Congratulations to Norcross on winning both Boys and Girls Class 6A State Titles……. :-)

TheBlueDeegs

March 10th, 2013
1:44 pm

@ North Cobb Orange As a Norcross fan who watched Norcross play both teams, I would have to say that North Cobb is the better team. The only advantage that Hillgrove seemed to ever have over you was one that was given to them: a much easier placement in the brackets.

CeeCee

March 10th, 2013
2:02 pm

Such a great feeling to have the best record 29-4!! Thank you Hillgrove Hawks!! :) Great Team!! Wonderful Coaching!! We are so proud and VERY BLESSED! <3

@anything or anybody NORTH COBB

March 10th, 2013
2:16 pm

the headline says Norcross vs Hillgrove 6A state championship not North Cobb. You come on here pissed caused you lost last week. If you would have handled your business, YOU would have played Hillgrove again. Stop the hate and get your boys ready for next cause your team is going to have major trouble. Hillgrove has three top players returning next year and they WILL be better than NC. As for the bracket, I guess Hillgrove sent a letter to GHSA and asked for their matchups. The brackets fell how they did and at the end of te day, Hillgrove won 3straight road games to get to Macon. Go Hillgrove and congrats to Norcross. Very good game.

Smitty

March 10th, 2013
2:30 pm

@Walter Paul…you obviously didn’t watch the game. I attended the game and just rewatched it on GPB this morning..keeping count of the bad calls—at least 10 that were ALL in favor of Norcross and against Hillgrove. If that is the “best of the best” than GA High School Basketball should be ashamed. If you don’t agree, I highly encourage you to go and rewatch the game..and if need be I will be more then happy to send you a list of the bad calls.

As far as those of you who are commenting from North Cobb…the game was HILLGROVE vs. Norcross….North Cobb watched the game from their living rooms. HILLGROVE played a very good ballgame and deserved to be in the game.

Proud to be a Hillgrove supporter. Proud of how well the boys played this year. Proud of the coaching staff. Great job Hillgrove!!

Shaunster

March 10th, 2013
2:54 pm

Final AJC Rankings, which the AJC staff certainly got right:

Class AAAAAA
1. Norcross (27-6)
2. North Cobb (26-5)
3. Tift County (26-5)
4. Hillgrove (28-5)
5. Wheeler (21-9)

http://blogs.ajc.com/georgia-high-school-sports/2013/03/10/final-rankings-norcross-wins-four-state-titles-two-for-school-two-for-city/?cxntfid=blogs_georgia_high_school_sports

TheBlueDeegs

March 10th, 2013
3:14 pm

@smitty I saw no calls favoring Hillgrove all game. Holding, checking and little elbows were frequent. If the whistle hand been blown for half of them, the 12 point margin would have been a greater margin that would have been opened up earlier.

the truth

March 10th, 2013
3:28 pm

Smitty..quit complaining. Reverse the outcome and you would say how well the officials called the game. It had everything to do with the fact that Norcross was the better team. Teams that have won state championships such as Norcross and Miller Grove prepare for the state championships by playing hard schedules outside of region which include multiple tournaments. When tournament time comes up they are very seasoned teams and can play hard for 4 quarters. Hillgrove scored 3 points in the last 4 minutes of the game because Norcross wore them down.

Deep Blue

March 10th, 2013
3:40 pm

Norcross will be better in ‘14.

Lot’s of talent coming back and goodness knows what new talent will be coming in to be part of the School of Champions!

Smitty

March 10th, 2013
4:36 pm

@TheBlueDeegs…not talking about holding, checking, and little elbows…that happens in every game and IS part of the game..talking about bad foul calls that were NOT fouls..blocked shots…also deflection calls where possession went to Norcross (know of two for sure—watch the replay –one was a back court non deflection call and the other was in the 4th quarter when Castlin tipped it off of the Norcross player and the call went to Norcross)…clear as day missed calls. Watch the replay.

@the truth….irregardless of the outcome the officiating was poor. If you would go back and watch the game with an eye for the calls you too would see the bad calls. I agree…Norcross had the better team..no doubt about it…however the game should be called by the officials in a better manner.

Hillgrove is still a relatively new school in Cobb County and has come along way since startup a few years back.

You all need to give some credit to these boys as they played a very good game.

the truth

March 10th, 2013
5:09 pm

Smitty, Norcross had 12 personal fouls compared to 19 for Hillgrove. Take away 5 fouls toward the end of the game that Hillgrove had to commit to stop the clock and hopefully have Norcross miss free throws, and the fouls were about even. If your view of basketball is every touch is a foul, you need to change your attitude because the game is physical and fast paced played by very athletic kids. An official has a split second to make a call and has to be impartial. He or she does not have the option of being a fan of one team as you do and they can not stop the game to watch multiple replays as you have. Stop complaining, accept the loss, and move on.

Smitty

March 10th, 2013
5:21 pm

@ the truth…please learn to read what I wrote….”not talking about holding, checking, and little elbows…that happens in every game and IS part of the game”—why don’t you go back and watch the game then we can discuss the poor officiating…the game is over…I already said Norcorss had the better team…but ya’ll give no credit to Hillgrove. The refs in the game made bad calls..period. Would it have changed the outcome?…probably not…the point is bad calls were made….yet you think they made perfect decisions the entire game….that is naive on your part….why don’t you come out and say they missed some calls….or do you think that they didn’t?

Great Game

March 10th, 2013
5:52 pm

5 point game with under 1:30 to play…both teams played great!! Congratulations to BOTH teams…jobs well done!!

only a matter of time

March 10th, 2013
6:47 pm

@the truth…I think Smitty is referring to a call when a Norcross player slipped while trying to make a move. No one was around him but a whistle blew. I believe, without benefit of replay, that one of our bigs was hit with that foul and he had to come out. that was during a Blue Devil run and the timing could have not been worse. there was another call later in the 4th that they missed but the “off”ref quickly hit Norcross with what was obviously a make up call. There was another time our kid went up for a jumper and was clearly hit on the wrist altering the shot but it was a no call from the refs. They can’t see it all and get them all right. For the most part the refs were of the mindset to let the boys play. It was the 6A championship game (despite what North Cobb people say) and people pay to see a heavy weight championship and that’s what it was until the last minute and some change.

crimson

March 10th, 2013
7:20 pm

I have already stated that I felt the game was poorly officiated. I was there. I will accept that it is my opinion, and may not be agreed to by some on this board Hillgrove would benefit by playing some of the “better” teams and “better” tournaments like Norcross…maybe it would prepare them for that “edge” going into a big game like the state championship. A day later I am glad to have seen the game and the effort both teams put forth. Curious, what was the injury to the big man from Norcross? It did not calm his spirit , he was challenging his teammates at every break. Job well done for a team player.

Jimmy

March 10th, 2013
8:02 pm

How in the world does Hillgrove assemble a state runner-up while Marietta, a school over 100 years old with tons of tradition, does not? Can someone explain to an outsider?

James

March 10th, 2013
9:29 pm

The brackets are set in August, before school even starts. Where you play and land depends on how you do in your region. You will always have regions 1-4 play the upper bracket and 5-8 on the bottom. You are always going to have region 5 against 8 and region 6 against seven. Where you played this year was already determined by where your team finish in the seeds. Every Year someone complains about weak or stron brackets. Hillgrove was put in that bracket because it was already set like that. Who they played is due to how the other regions played and how they were seeded. Get a better understanding. It’s not like the NCAA where you have no clue where a team will land because a human assigns your team

James

March 10th, 2013
9:43 pm

@Old Roswell hornet. Read the article and comments. It states first time a school has won the football championship and the boys and girls basketball title in the same school year.

Marietta fan

March 10th, 2013
11:29 pm

@Jimmy We were very bad this year mainly due to our top 6 scorers from last year graduated and Anthony Jennings enrolled early at LSU for football, so really we lost our top 7 players from last year and it takes a while to get back when you don’t do things like Wheeler. I also question our coach. He was ejected from a game at Campbell this year. We were down by 13 at the time and won the game. In the 2 games he was suspended, we won by 19 and took North Cobb to OT, then he comes back and we played absolutely awful. He also made some players mad and two went to North Cobb and one to South Cobb. Hillgrove and North Cobb were great this year since both teams have been together all through middle school and don’t recruit. Thats how I see it.

only a matter of time

March 11th, 2013
4:40 am

well said James (9:29 pm) but N. Cobb fans still have it in their mind that the GHSA some how “stuck” it to them for the playoffs and Hillgrove was “given” an easy path to the ’ship. They somehow feel like their loss in the semi’s to Norcross was the “final” since they beat Hillgrove 3 times this year and there is no possible way to explain Hillgrove’s run other than to say they were “screwed” and Hillgrove was lucky. But if it makes the NCHS fans (a select few who can’t seem to move on) feel better then so be it.

Manny fresh

March 11th, 2013
6:05 am

@james you are right but I feel they need to change those rules because its not proven who’s the better team I think it’s stupid because you might have all the good teams on the same side of the bracket where they knock each other out and then in the championship you have a stronger team playing a weaker team just because how the brackets are set up. I think they should take the top 4 teams in the state in put them in separate brackets and just fill in the rest of the teams by their rankings that way you can get a true champion.

Jimmy

March 11th, 2013
6:09 am

Marietta fan, thanks for the info. I have always been intrigued by the great Marietta tradition. The great rec center in town. The “Tin Can”? Elizabeth Street Rec Center, I think, is the official name. The Marietta Garden. Coach Charlie Hood. Dale Ellis. On and on. Now, this school pops up down Dallas Hwy and surpasses Marietta in five years or so??? Makes no sense. I’ll have to do some digging on the new coach. I have no idea who it is. But it’s got to be hard to replace Charlie Hood.

Jimmy

March 11th, 2013
6:11 am

Correction: Elizabeth Porter Rec Center.

only a matter of time

March 11th, 2013
6:19 am

@Manny Fresh…I would like to see classifications thrown out and lets just line up the best 16 in the state and play this thing out. I think that is similar to the format that you are mentioning. Other “basketball” states do it and it’s time Georgia implements it as well. All school’s recruit and/or “welcome” highly skilled transfers so the playing field is level in that regard.

NBD1

March 11th, 2013
7:18 am

@Old Roswell Hornet

March 10th, 2013
1:14 pm
That would be boys/girls BB & Football. And no, Roswell did NOT do that!

Eagle Dad

March 11th, 2013
9:07 am

@ only a matter of time-
Be patient with North Cobb folks. They haven’t won a state title in anything since like the early 1980’s (girls tennis) and apparently don’t know how to handle being this close to one and not playing for it. Matter of fact, I don’t think they have EVER won a state title in a boys sport. They are close, just as Hillgrove is. I can see both schools winning a title in some sport in the next few years.

On another note, I wish some of the Hillgrove folks would stop with the whole “we’ve only been a school for a few years!” comments. Schools have won championships in much less time- Peachtree Ridge even won a title in FOOTBALL in just its 4th year of existence. Seven years is plenty of time to get things up and rolling. Still acting like the school just opened looks bush league.

only a matter of time

March 11th, 2013
10:20 am

@Eagle dad…my comments were aimed squarely at the NCHS fans that can’t still get over how things in the playoffs worked out. Yes, I think we can all agree that Hillgrove has been around long enough to drop that “we’ve only been a few years.” It’s starting to sound like a built in excuse for not winning the championship. In that time we have had success in several different sports.

Hmmmmm

March 11th, 2013
10:22 am

Eagle Dad…schools that have a tradition of winning in basketball (wheeler, Norcross) and have been around for more then 7 years are able to recruit the better players based upon the past. Hillgrove doesn’t have that luxury…your comments are bush league if you can not see the difference in recruiting options for the elite players.

Eagle Dad

March 11th, 2013
10:59 am

@ Hmmmmm-

My comment is totally unrelated to basketball recruiting. And I do not consider recruiting a luxury- it has become a terrible common approach in high school basketball and I hope Hillgrove never takes that route. If your current hoops coach stays, I bet they never will. It is much more of an accomplishment for a school to win a title with a group of kids who came up through the junior program. The girls basketball team from your rival school who won it all last season might be the last large class school to do that in hoops, boys or girls.

Some (not all) Hillgrove people will be saying “only been around a few years” even after it’s been a decade. “only a matter of time” said it right- beginning to sound like a built-in excuse. Hillgrove has a great athletic program across the board and has been around long enough to develop teams capable of winning championships. My guess is you will win that first one within the next 3 years.

Hmmmmm

March 11th, 2013
11:19 am

Luxury was probably the wrong word…it is tougher to compete when some schools do it and others do not. Ethics is missing in all sports at all levels…hopefully this will change in high school sports in georgia as high school athletics is a key learning period in our youth boys and girls…so many life lessons can be taught and learned. Have a great day…thanks for the discussion..

Eagle Dad

March 11th, 2013
11:40 am

Thanks Hmmmmm and same to you.

We have moved away from the purpose of prep athletics, particularly in basketball. Our “want it right now” society is the reason for many of these parents moving their kids all over for “a better opportunity.” There are few ties to the community in metro Atlanta. The majority of the population moved here from somewhere else and are not concerned with being a part. It’s all about them getting theirs.