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Basketball: Lambert girls come up short against Norcross in 2nd round
03012023 LAMBERT
Lambert's Briley Elder surveys the floor during a Class 7A state tournament second-round matchup Saturday at Norcross. (Photo courtesy of Gwinnett Daily Post)

Lambert hit a pair of 3-pointers in the early moments of the first quarter Saturday, but its success beyond the arc and with the rest of its offense ended there.

Defending state champion Norcross locked down defensively for a 59-34 win in the second round of the Class 7A girls basketball playoffs. The Blue Devils held Lambert to 9-for-37 shooting (24.3 percent) and 5 of 24 (20.8 percent) from 3-point range, in addition to forcing 18 turnovers.

Tweedy Charlton had six steals in the win, and Jania Akins had four steals to lead the defense as the Blue Devils (27-2) advanced to the Elite Eight. They will host Archer at 5:30 p.m. March 1.

“I was pleased with our team’s defensive effort,” Norcross girls coach Ashley Luke Clanton said. “Lambert can shoot the 3-ball well and plays hard. We were able to stay focused for four quarters and stick to details. Offensively, we shared the ball well. We missed some bunnies that we need to put away, but did really nice things to create the opportunities.”

The Blue Devils, who won their 10th straight since a Jan. 21 loss to McEachern, trailed Lambert (21-8) 10-8 late in the first quarter, but closed the quarter on a 7-0 run that included a steal and basket by Charlton.

The hosts stretched their lead to 29-17 by halftime thanks in large part to Akins and Charlton, who combined for nine first-half steals. They continued to pull away in the second half, leading by 20 after three quarters.

Akins had 19 points and six rebounds, and Charlton finished with 18 points and four assists. Norcross also got 10 points and eight rebounds from Mariyah Valrie and eight points, five rebounds and three assists from Kayla Lindsey.

Lambert was led by Mackenzie Weyer (eight points, seven rebounds) and Shelby Lawrence (seven points).