Friday, February 29, 2008

5A sectionals at Marietta High School

Just got back from two excellent basketball games on this Elite 8 Friday. Let's start with the girls game, which began at 7 p.m. 

Parkview came in as a big favorite in this one, but Mykala Walker didn't care. She scored 22 points - including 11 in the fourth quarter - to put the Lady Wildcats in the Final Four with the 51-37 win.

She hit jumpers, she got to the rim, she rebounded the ball - this was one of the most impressive performances I've seen by a basketball player all year. If Walker gets the ball around the basket, she'll find a way to make it go in, or she'll get fouled. She took over the ballgame against No. 1 seed Parkview - and she's just a junior. A star has emerged.

It wasn't just a cakewalk for Duluth, as the score might suggest. They led by only three points after the third quarter - 29-26 - but blew it open from there, and even got to empty their bench with less than a minute remaining.

Mykala Walker... remember that name. She's got Duluth peaking at the right time.

Norcross vs. Northview 

It stayed close for a while, but Norcross slowly wore Northview down and cruised through the second half for a 75-60 victory. It was only a two-point lead for the Blue Devils after the first quarter, but Al-Farouq Aminu (29 points), A.J. Hawkins and Taariq Muhammad were too much for the Titans to handle.

Northview, however, has to get credit for hanging with one of the best teams in the nation. The Titans were talented enough to knock off Marietta, keeping them from playing the quarters in their own gym in a Blue Devil-on-Blue Devil matchup, but Ralph Sampson III's efforts couldn't overcome Norcross' efficient offensive play. 

An interesting sub-plot to this game: Norcross' Hawkins, a senior forward, transferred from Northview to join Eddie Martin's Blue Devil squad. 

Both fanbases were as spirited as I've seen, and Norcross supporters now have a lot to cheer about. Their Blue Devils will be at Gwinnett Arena for a shot at a three-peat.