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Defense leads Lady Cardinals to 7-0 start

By Jeffery Armstrong

Jonesboro Lady Cardinals head basketball coach John Kovzel has accomplished some major milestones during his tenure at the school. In February 2002, Jonesboro knocked Riverdale out of the region tourney to advance to the state playoffs for the first time in 35 years. In the fall of 2002, Jonesboro defeated the Morrow Lady Mustangs in the regular season for the first time during his tenure. On Dec. 6, Kovzel guided the Lady Cardinals to a 45-39 win over the Lady Mustangs for the team's first victory at Morrow.

High praise: After the Morrow game on Dec. 6, Kovzel praised the Jonesboro defense for its blistering 7-0 start.

"The kids are playing very hard," Kovzel said. "I'm very proud of the defense that Kala Smith has been playing. She's becoming my best on-ball defender."

Kovzel also praised the defensive efforts of inside players Sheena Brown and LaTreace Johnson.

"Sheena and LaTreace don't get a lot of pub for the work they do, but they're playing great right now," said Kovzel.

Nice start: The Forest Park Lady Panthers defeated Lovejoy 40-32 in last month's Arrowhead Tournament to start their season at 4-0. As nice as that run was, it's not Forest Park's best start. The 1970 Forest Park girls team started 18-0 before losing a game. They ended up going 29-1 and winning Clayton County's first state basketball championship.

High hopes: Morrow boys head coach Jay Livingston said after his team crushed Westside-Macon 77-33 last week that his team has the potential to be as good as the 2001-02 state Final Four team.

"This is the fastest team I've had here," Livingston said. "What gives the Final Four team the edge over this team is that team's anticipation. They could anticipate the situation and react so well to it. If I can get this year's team to do that, we'll be great."

A good night: Livingston was impressed with Morrow's defensive effort against Westside-Macon. The Mustangs caused three 10-second violations, one five-second call and they took two charges.

A good win, but?: Morrow forward Jonathon Zeno put his team's win over Westside into proper perspective.

"They were missing their football players," Zeno said. "They aren't really that bad."

Westside has advanced to the Class AAAAA state quarterfinals held at the Georgia Dome this weekend.

M.D. Roberts beats Morrow

From Staff Reports

M.D. Roberts 53, Morrow 40 (boys): David Weber 12, A.J. Westfield scored 11 as M.D. Roberts beat Morrow in middle school action.

The North Clayton Middle School basketball teams both won. In girls' action, Laitia Williams led her team to a 45-32 win. Joseph Amichia scored 14 as North Clayton won 43-27.