By Doug Gorman
Forest Park girls' basketball coach Ron Chaffin experienced plenty of mood swings Monday afternoon in the first round of the Henry County Classic against Newton.
At times he was angry. Sometimes he was frustrated, and other times he was down right puzzled.
In the end when it counted, he was all smiles.
He owes a lot of his happiness to the play of Marcquitta Head, who took over the game with strong inside play in the fourth quarter for the Lady Panthers en route to a 38-36 victory.
Head scored six of her 14 points in a hard-fought fourth quarter, but none were bigger than her shot with 25 seconds remaining to give the Lady Panthers the lead for good by the game-winning margin.
The win helped the Lady Panthers advance to the semifinals of the Henry County tournament against Union Grove. Tip-off for tonight's game is set for 7 p.m.
Forest Park's victory came against a Newton County club which had lost jusrt three times this season.
"This was a big victory for us" said Chafin. "I would rather win an ugly game, that lose an ugly game."
Forest Park trailed 9-6 at the end of the first quarter and 21-16 at the break.
Early in the second quarter Kawanikki Sanders gave the Lady Panthers a 10-9 lead, but the Lady Rams took back control of the game. A 3-point shot by Yasmina Jackson put Newton back into the lead at 12-10 and started the Lady Rams on a 9-0 run. A pair of free throws by Shanetria Hill capped the spurt and gave Newton an 18-10 lead.
Forest Park scored six straight points to get back in the game with many of the points during the run coming off of free throws.
After the Panthers cut the score to 18-11, Head came up with one of the biggest baskets of the second quarter when she scored after rebounding a missed free throw to cut the Newton lead to five.
Two free throws by Jessica Franklin cut the gap to 18-15. Jennifer Jefferson then cut the score to 18-16 when she hit a free throw for the Lady Panthers.
Newton then scored the final three points of the first half.
The Lady Rams appeared to put the game away in the fourth quarter when Adrea Jackson scored seven quick points to give her team a 27-20 lead.
Again Forest Park clawed its way back. Two straight baskets by Head cut the margin to 27-24.
Jackson's free throw gave the Lady Rams a 28-24 lead. A 3-point shot by M'Keyla Reid trimmed the Newton lead to 28-27.
Newton scored the final three points of the quarter and led 31-27.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Lady Panthers set up their comeback with some dramatic baskets. Head's shot tied the game at 31-all and Reid tied the game at 36-all, setting the stage for Head's game winner.
Head scored 14 points and Reid 12 to pace Forest Park.
Brittney Carter led Newton with 12.
Chapel Hill 75, Forest Park 48 (boys): The Chapel Hill b oys basketball team opened the bgame on a 9-0 run and never looked back, beating Forest Park 75-48 in the first round of the boys half of the Henry County Classic.
Chapel Hill extended its lead to 14-2 during the first quarter in the contest between two teams nicknamed Panthers.
A 3-point shot by Forest Park's Edima Ufot cut the Chapel Hill lead to 15-8.
However, it was Chapel Hill that had the hot hand from 3-point territory.
Chapel Hill drilled four in the first half to help it build its commanding lead.
Chapel Hill led 26-10 at the end of the first quarter, and stayed at double-digits the rest of the way.
Chapel Hill led 42-22 at the break and 54-30 at the end of the third quarter.
Lance James scored 15 points to lead Chapel Hill.
Ufot scored 13 to pace Forest Park.