Diamond DeShields scored a game-high 27 points to lead Norcross to a 61-36 victory over McEachern on Friday at the Arena at Gwinnett Center, spoiling the Lady Indians' first appearance in the Class AAAAA state championship.
DeShields' second-quarter effort helped lift the Lady Blue Devils from a 9-all first-quarter tie to a 34-17 halftime lead as Norcross outscored McEachern 25-8 in the period.
DeShields scored 20 of her points in the first half, with 14 in the second quarter
The victory gave Norcross (29-3) its second straight state title, while McEachern (25-7) claimed the runner-up trophy in its first appearance in the state finals.
"Fifty-nine other (Class AAAAA) teams would have loved to have been in my shoes," McEachern coach Phyllis Arthur said. "Sixty-one started out and it came down to two. I'm proud of my team for even being here. We've made history, so there's nothing to hang our heads about.
"(Norcross) is an awesome team and, if I'm going to get beat, I'd rather get beat by an awesome team."
McEachern held a 6-3 lead 4 minutes into the game, but over their next series of possessions, the Lady Indians missed six shots and turned the ball over twice before finishing the first period tied at 9-all.
Things then got progressively worse for McEachern.
The Lady Indians made only three field goals over the first 14 minutes of the first half and failed to connect on their first eight shots of the second quarter. McEachern also turned the ball over six times in the first 6 minutes of the frame and found itself trailing 32-11 with 2 minutes left until halftime.
Behind DeShields, strong rebounding from Dearica Hamby and five points from Alex DeMercy, Norcross opened the second period on a 13-0 run and added a 10-0 spurt midway through the stanza to stake its 21-point lead.
Pachiyaanna Roberts scored six of the final eight points of the half for McEachern, trailed 34-17 at intermission.
The damage was done and the Lady Indians couldn't recover.
"(Norcross) played some very good defense, and they wouldn't let up," Arthur said. "They wouldn't give us the shots to take, and we couldn't find a shot, so when we did have a shot, we were just rushing it and missed wide-open layups and free throws.
"My hat's off to (Norcross). They deserved it. They came to play and we just couldn't get it done."
McEachern attempted a comeback to start the second half, scoring six of the first eight points, but the outcome remained the same at the end of the third period with Norcross holding a 17-point advantage, 42-25.
Leading 48-30 after McEachern's Dominique Wilson made a free throw, Norcross went on another run and built a 55-34 margin with 2 minutes remaining in the contest before settling on the final margin.
The Lady Blue Devils held their largest lead, 55-30, after a layup from DeShields with 3 minutes left.
"It's painful to lose this game, but we did make history," Arthur said. "This is the farthest McEachern has ever gone, and it's the farthest I've ever gone as a coach.
"I'm very proud of those young ladies and I love them to death."
Hamby, a transfer from Marietta, came off the bench and finished with six points, five assists, three steals and a game-high 15 rebounds for Norcross. DeMercy totaled nine points, while Shayla Cooper added eight points, seven boards and three steals. DeShields also posted three steals.
Roberts paced McEachern with 14 points and added four rebounds. Wilson added 10 points for the Lady Indians.