By Doug Gorman
The Lovejoy and Forest Park High School boys basketball teams will meet today in the annual Henry County Classic.
Not, however, the way the coaches for each team had wanted.
Instead of playing for the tournament title, the Clayton County rivals will meet for the third-place prize after both teams suffered losses on Saturday in the second round of the tournament.
Tip off for today's game is set for 5:30 p.m.
Henry County 67, Forest Park 46: Henry County coach Clint Satterfield has been around Forest Park coach Lamar Oglesby long enough to know that Forest Park is going to play until the final horn sounds.
That's why Satterfield wasn't ready to declare his team the winner until the scoreboard clock read all zeros.
Satterfield's approach to the game turned out to be a smart one because every time the Warhawks seemed ready to run away with the contest, Forest Park managed to find new life.
It was that way until late in the fourth quarter when Henry County finally put a little distance between itself and the Panthers in the semifinals of the Henry County Classic.
The Warhawks led 14-9 at the end of the first quarter and 35-16 at the end of the second quarter, but the Panthers made it very clear they were going to make a run in the second half.
A pair of 3-point shots by Randy Jackson helped Forest Park trim the lead to 47-36 heading into the final period.
It also sparked a 7-2 run by Forest Park to start the final period. At one stretch, the Panthers trimmed the led to 49-43.
Henry County only managed to hit three baskets in the fourth quarter, but they took advantage when Forest Park tried to turn the game into a physical battle.
The Warhawks went to the line 26 times in the final period and hit 14 free throws.
"We need to hit free throws down the stretch and we did that," said Satterfield. "This was a really good win for us."
Henry County's Carvell Taylor led all scores with 28 points. Emmanuel Wimbush scored 11 and Marvis Duffie added 10,
Duffie and Greg Lindsey each had a couple of impressive dunks in the first half to help Henry County take early control.
"What I like about this team is our chemistry," said Satterfield. "We are really not word about who is our scoring leader."
Jackson, who left late in the game with a shoulder injury led Forest Park with 14.
Anthony Harvey added 13 for the Panthers.
Newton County 51, Lovejoy 43 (boys): The Lovejoy Wildcats won't get a chance to defend their Henry County Classic title and they can blame part of the reason on the Rams' Darius White.
White scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Rams took control of the game over the final eight minutes to hand the Wildcats their second loss of the season.
Newton County led 15-10 at the end of the first quarter, but gave up the lead at the break as Michael Sloan score six second-quarter points to push help push Lovejoy out to a 25-19 cushion.
After three quarters of play, Lovejoy led 32-29.
An offensive drought to start the final period was Lovejoy's undoing as Newton County worked its way back into the lead.
The Wildcats went nearly four minutes into the final period without scoring a basket and the Rams took advantage of the drought.
Jerrell Boswell's 3-point shot put the Rams back into the lead at 34-32.
It also started an offensive explosion by Newton County as it went on an 11-0 run to take a 42-31 lead.
The Wildcats' wake-up call came with 4:41 remaining when Derek Brooks drilled the first of three 3-point shots by the Wildcats.
His trey cut the gap to 42-35.
Minutes later, Brooks answered with a second long-range jumper to trim the lead to 46-40.
Lovejoy appeared back in the game when Daashon Proyer also connected with a 3-pointer to cut the Newton County lead to 46-43.
However, Pryor's shot was the final points for Lovejoy as Newton County scored the final six points of the contest.
Brooks scored 15 points to lead Lovejoy. Sloan added 11.
White's 16 for the Rams led all scorers.
Lovejoy 51, Rockdale 32 (girls): The Lovejoy Lady Wildcats hopes of playing for a Henry County Classic title ended Saturday afternoon in a loss to Rockdale County in the semifinals of the annual holiday tournament.
Lovejoy trailed 10-8 at the end of the first quarter, but pretty much ended its chances for a victory with a poor offensive showing in the second quarter.
Shari Bradford scored the only basket of the second quarter for the Lady Wildcats as Rockdale sprinted out to a 25-10 lead at the break.
Three-point shots by Candice Camp and Tracey Whitehead sparked the Lady Bulldogs second-quarter explosion.
The Lady Wildcats enjoyed their best offensive performance of the game in the third quarter, scoring 14-points in the middle stanza, but Rockdale still enjoyed a commanding 41-24 lead heading into the final period. Bradford led Lovejoy with 10. Whitney Patton also scored 10 points for the Lady Bulldogs.