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NORCROSS (GA) – The objective of a basketball contest is to score more than your opponent in a limited amount of time. The Norcross Blue Devils excelled at this task during the Double Trouble Invitational.
Fueled by 22 points from both Jerry Deng and London Johnson, Norcross scored the game’s first 10 points and never let up en route to a 94-72 season-opening win over Fayette County at Berkmar High on November 13.
With Deng hitting four 3-pointers and Johnson doing the same while turning steals into breakaway jams, Aiden Sherrell (16 points, 16 rebounds) dominating the glass and Mier Panoam (15 points, five assists, three steals) attacking the rim, the Blue Devils clearly had an offensive showing that was too potent for Fayette County.
“Based on tonight and our scrimmage, we’re scoring the ball really well, shooting the ball really well and developing a lot of team chemistry so that helps,” Norcross coach Jesse McMillan said. “You can put a lot of pressure on the defense and they have to step out and guard you. We have multiple guys on the floor that we feel can step out and shoot it. We played in transition majority of the night so that helped too.”
Kaleb Banks kept the Tigers as close as possible, scoring 27 points, and Tariq Mumphery (20 points) made six 3s as Indiana head coach Mike Woodson watched courtside.
“Kaleb had a really good game but we felt like the shots he had to take and make were tough,” McMillan said. “Samarion really stepped up as a defender and really took the challenge to make it difficult for Kaleb throughout the course of the night.”
After quickly jumping out to a double-digit lead, Norcross entered the second period ahead 28-19 before going on a 16-0 scoring run. This time, Deng (10 rebounds) started the surge with a 3, then Johnson converted a layin. Shortly afterwards, Panoam made a steal and Samarion Bond (13 points) finished the possession with dunk. To conclude the run, Johnson found Michael Zhang for a 3, Zhang dished a pass to Sherrell for a slam, and Bond drilled a 3-pointer on a pass from Sherrell for a 46-22 advantage.
“Aiden Sherrell is sophomore and didn’t play at all last year,” McMillan said. “For him getting this experience and playing well was really impressive in his first game. You know what you are going to get out of London, Mier and Jerry at this point but for Samarion and Aiden to step up was really impressive.”
After Deng set the tone on offense in the first half with 15 points, Johnson increased his scoring in the second half, notching 16 points to help keep the margin wide between the two teams.
RJ Kennedy scored 14 points for the Tigers.