Friday, March 7, 2008

Boys 5A Finals: Wheeler vs. Norcross

Fourth Quarter Action:
Norcross wins it all 57-54.

Wheeler fails to foul Norcross and Taariq Mohammad scores, giving Norcross a three-point lead with five seconds left. Wheeler misses a desperation attempt at a three. 

Phil Taylor responds for Wheeler, hitting a fade away jumper with 14 seconds remaining. Norcross leads 55-54.

Wheeler fouls Aminu, down one with 25 seconds left. In big-time fashion, Aminu sinks both foul shots, giving Norcross a three-point lead. 

Down three with 31 second remaining, Wheeler guard Phil Taylor sinks two foul shots, pulling Wheeler to within one. 

A timeout is called with 1:45 left in the game, Aminu at the line, and a one-point Norcross lead.

Aminu drains a huge three for the Blue Devils at the 2:50 mark. Despite disapproval from both Aminu and the Norcross fans, he is call for a foul. Wheeler sinks both foul shots and pulls back to within one, 48-49.

The game has moved inside late, as the teams have traded inside baskets. The game is tied 46-46 with 3 minutes left.

After Norcross tied the score at 42, Wheeler's Jones missed two foul shots, while Denzail Jones for Norcross made two, giving the Blue Devils a 44-42 lead with 4:51 left.

Denzail Jones has carried his hot shooting over to the fourth quarter, as he hit another deep two to tie the game. Again, however, Wheeler answered, this time with a Richard Howell layup.

Aminu immediately gets to the line, makes one of two, and ties the game at 38. But Ari Stewart scores to give Wheeler a two-point lead. 

We are eight minutes away from crowning the boys 5A basketball champions.

Third Quarter Action:
With one minute left, Wheeler holds the ball for the last shot. Tired, Norcross allows it, but prevents Wheeler from getting any points out of the last possession. 38-37 Wheeler after three. 

With 2:45 left in the third, Aminu throws down a tremendous dunk, lifting off about only two steps inside the free-throw line. Norcross extends its lead to four, but Wheeler responds with a three, a steal and another basket, taking a one-point lead, 38-37.

At the 3:20 mark, a television timeout is called with Norcross clinging to a 35-33 lead. 

The game is being played at a hectic pace.
Wheeler has done a great job establishing itself on the offensive glass in the second half. 
Neither team is doing a very good job taking care of the ball, however. 
With 3:30 left in the third, the teams are tied at 33. 

Wheeler has opened the half with great aggression, taking the lead 33-32. They have played tremendous defense and tough in the paint, both on offense and defense. 

First Half Impressions:
Both teams have settled down and their offenses have benefited as a result. Norcross leads 28-24 and seemed to get more high-percentage shots in the first half, while Wheeler has stayed in the game with some timely outside shooting and strong play from Dequan Jones, who leads the team with seven points at the half.
Aminu leads Norcross with eight points.
The second half is anyone's game, as both teams are playing above the rim and display a great ability to go on runs.  

Second Quarter Action:
Hot shooting from Norcross guard Denzail Jones and yet another Aminu block has helped Norcross build a five-point lead, 26-21, with one minute left in the first half. 

With four minutes left in the second, Wheeler has cut the Norcross lead to four, and has done so with phenomenal defense and good shooting.  

Both teams have started the second quarter hot, with A.J Hawkins playing well for Norcross and Dequan Jones continuing his dominance for Wheeler. He had yet another monster dunk only moments ago. Wheeler seems to have really picked up their energy. 5:50 left in second: Norcross leads 21-17.

First Quarter Action:
You wouldn't think it from the score, but Dequan Jones has been tremendous in the the first quarter. He has showed brilliant dribbling skills, good athleticism, and an amazing ability to find the open man. Jones has led the Wheeler comeback charge, now down 17-11 at the end of the first. 

A thunderous dunk from Dequan Jones and some solid Wheeler defense has helped Wheeler get back in the game, now down 17-7.

Al-Farouq Aminu just had a nasty dunk for Norcross, one rarely seen at the high school level. Norcross has gotten some easy baskets in transition and looks far more together than Wheeler. They started the game with much more energy than Wheeler and it shows in their 17-3 first quarter lead.

With 6:23 left in the first, Wheeler uses their first timeout, as Norcross opened the game on a 6-0 run. They look a bit more composed and under control then the opposing Wheeler squad. 
Wheeler has settled too much early for outside jumpers.

Aminu responds for Norcross with a block of his own and a monstrous dunk. 4-0 Norcross. 

Wheeler wins the toss and begins the game with an air ball from senior Dequan Jones. They follow it up with a vicious block on the other end from Richard Howell. 

Pre Game Observations:
Last Pre game observation: There are no better high school fans out there than the ones from Norcross. 

They are announcing now the players and you can't find a more exciting atmosphere than the one here. It is just insanely loud. 

Just from looking at the two teams, Wheeler will have a decided height advantage. Richard Howell, Dequan Jones and Ari Stewart are just huge, with only Norcross' Aminu comparing favorably. Norcross will look to use their quickness and a consistent outside shooting game to capture the state title. 

The crowd is showing absolutely tremendous energy, especially the fans from Norcross. Wheeler is the first team to take the floor and looks as focused as a team can look. 
Norcross takes the floor second and seems to be jumping around a bit more than Wheeler, really feeding off the crowd's energy. We are currently 13 minutes away from the tip.