Norcross girls jump on Central early for 61-41 semifinal win

Tionna Carter

NORCROSS — Having played only one game in the previous 12 days, Norcross girls basketball coach Dani Wright was a little concerned about her team possibly being a bit rusty heading into it’s Region 7-AAAAAAA tournament semifinal against Central Gwinnett.

The No. 7 state-ranked Blue Devils made sure those concerns were unfounded by jumping on the Black Knights early and not letting up in cruising to a 61-41 victory Wednesday night at Meadowcreek High School.

Tionna Carter scored 18 points, while Morgan Robinson-Nwagwu added 13 points and Yamani Paul chipped in 12 as Norcross (17-9) advanced to the championship game, where eighth-ranked Brookwood awaits Friday at 6 p.m.

All three were part of the Blue Devils’ big start by combining for 16 points in building up a 21-2 lead by the end of the first quarter.

“We’ve really emphasized (getting Carter and Paul involved in the low block),” Wright said. “It helps getting Tionna back and having a healthy (starting) five for the first time (all season). We’re still learning how to play together. We’re still learning how to feed each other. But (Wednesday) night, they did a great job. They shared the ball well.

“We kind of talked to the girls that we have given up the second-most points in the region. So that’s kind of been a pride thing all season. We’ve got to kind of hold it scoring-wise and play better defense, and they really took that to heart (in practice) this week.”

Central (17-10) did fight back somewhat behind 13 points from Diarra Smith and 10 points from Amaya Adams, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Black Knights from falling into Friday’s 3 p.m. third-place game against Parkview.

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Graduated from GSU in 1990. Have worked in sports journalism for the past 28 years, covering a variety of sports at the Gwinnett Daily News, AJC, Lafayette (La.) Daily Advertiser and Marietta Daily Journal before returning to Gwinnett at the Post in 2007.