ANALYSIS & HIGHLIGHTS: No. 5 Norcross 82, No. 2 Westside-Macon 74

November 26, 2016, GHSA heavyweights Norcross and Westside-Macon collided in an early season matchup that revealed a lot about both teams by night’s end. The GHSA Class 7A No. 5 ranked Blue Devils entered Saturday’s contest with a 3-0 record, while it was the season opener for the Class 3A No. 2 Seminoles who entered the game with a huge buzz surrounding them. At approximately 5:00p.m., spectators started to pile into Holy Innocents Episcopal School gymnasium for the second session of games and prepared to watch the “Big Boys” take center stage.

First Quarter

In the first quarter, Norcross threw the first punch jumping out to a quick 12-0 run to start the game. From the outset it was clear that the Blue Devils were a well oiled machine. UGA signee, Rayshaun Hammonds and floor general, Kyle Sturdivant set the tone early. Thomas stepped outside knocking down a couple of 3-pointers then worked his way to the paint with a couple of strong drives to the basket, while Sturdivant calmly ran the show setting teammates up for easy buckets as well as knocked down open shots. Seminoles Head Coach Josh Grube called a timeout at the 5:27 mark to try to settle his team down and it seemed to have worked momentarily as Westside went on a 6-0 run cutting the lead to 12-6. However, Norcross countered with their own 7-3 run to end the first quarter.

Second Quarter

Westside came off of the ropes swinging hard in the second quarter. 6-foot-10 Xavier signee, Kentrevious Jones made his mark in the paint with a couple of old fashioned three point plays. The 260-pound center also got cooking from the outside knocking down several deep jumpers to rally the Seminoles. In addition, Samone Reed scored eight of his ten first half points in the second. The 5-foot-10 guard was amazing shooting the ball from the 3-point stripe. He tied the game up at 30 apiece at the 2:17 mark before Norcross scored six unanswered to take a 36-30 lead with 39 seconds left. Reed then hit another deep 3-pointer in the final seconds to cut the deficit to 36-33 going into halftime.


Third Quarter

Norcross and Westside continued to battle in the third quarter with neither shying away from the action. Hammonds and Sturdivant continued their steady play for the Blue Devils, while Jones and Reed kept the Seminoles within striking distance. Further, 5-star standout Khavon Moore mangaged to hit a couple of meaningful baskets for Westside in the third quarter on a night where he was noticeably out of sink. About midway through the third he scored on consecutive possessions giving the Seminoles a 48-44 lead. In the ensuing moments, Jordan Goldwire and and Kyle Sturdivant combined for seven straight points and gave Norcross a 51-48 lead with 3:03 left in the quarter. However, the Seminoles kept fighting and tied the game up at 55-55 with a couple of seconds left before making an ill-advised foul on a Rayshaun Hammonds 3-point attempt. Hammonds knocked down 2 of 3 free throws to put Norcross up 57-55 to end the third.

Fourth Quarter

With Reed continuing his red hot shooting and the teams continuing to trade baskets, Norcross Head Coach Jesse McMillan called an early timeout after the Blue Devils took a 61-59 lead. Coming out of the timeout, Norcross went to an extended 1-3-1 half court zone defense that stymied Westside and took Reed out of the game offensively. The adjustment confused the Seminoles and forced turnovers, which led to easy layups and breakaway dunks. The Blue Devils took a commanding 68-59 lead with 2:17 remaining in the game and did not look back, holding off Westside 84-72.


High Flyer JoJo Toppins with flush in the 4th qtr.

What We Learned


The Blue Devils may be better than advertised. Starting the 2016-17 season with a 4-0 record and impressive victories over GHSA Class A-Private No. 1 Greenforest and Class 3A No. 2 Westside-Macon, Norcross seems to be on a mission after losing to Westlake in the second round of last season’s GHSA playoffs. There probably isn’t a more poised starting five in the entire state, they do not seem to get rattled or fold under any circumstance. Oh yeah, did I mention that Rayshaun Hammonds and Lance Thomas are the real deal! Further, Kyle Sturdivant really looked impressive running the show and will definitely be a solid player on the next level, look out for this kid.

Bold Statement

Following Norcross’ victory over Westside, I watched GHSA Class 7A No. 1 Wheeler play and lose 59-57 in a very competitive game against a legit Vashon (MO) squad. In spite of Wheeler undoubtedly having more individual talent from top to bottom than Norcross, I am going to go out on a limb and say that the Blue Devils are the better team because of their chemistry and experience. At this point, I believe that Norcross has made a strong case to open up week 2 as the new No. 1 team in the Class 7A division.


The Seminoles are a very talented bunch, but they do not have a true identity right now. With the addition of two more alpha males, Kentrevious Jones and Trey Foster, 5-star junior Khavon Moore seemed to be a bit uncomfortable. On a night where The 6-foot-9 blue chip prospect scored his 1000th career point, he struggled to find a consistent offensive rhythm. Further, Westside only played seven players all night and did not look to be as deep as advertised. 6-foot-5 forward Omar Jones just returned from football this week and will be much better once he gets the adequate amount of practice time. Gregory Holloway and Terric Allen are the X-factors for Westside, but they looked overwhelmed and outmatched all night forcing Coach Grube to shorten his rotation. One more tidbit, colleges should start inquiring about senior guard Samone Reed, he is a gamer. In spite of losing, the Seminoles showed great signs and put the state on notice. As the season moves along, expect the aforementioned Khavon Moore to come to life and lead Westside on a magical run.

Bold Statement

After it is all said and done, Westside-Macon will win the 2016-17 GHSA Class 3A state championship. On the surface, that may seem a little far fetched for the casual fan to grasp based on the questions that are left to answer following their loss to Norcross. However, I truly believe that this season opening loss is going to prove to be a blessing in disguise for the Seminoles. I think that all parties involved for Westside will go back to the drawing board and get better as a result.



Rayshaun Hammonds- 22pts 7rebs

Lance Thomas- 16pts 6 rebs

Kyle Sturdivant- 20pts


Kentrevious Jones- 27pts 8rebs

Samone Reed- 22pts 6asts 5rebs

Khavon Moore- 19pts 10rebs 6asts