By Doug Gorman
When Lonnie Farmer was named head coach of the Forest Park boys basketball team earlier this year, his first goal was to convince his team they were good enough to compete each time they took the floor.
After several losses to open the season, the Panthers' young coach might just be getting his message across.
Tuesday afternoon in a conoslation-round contest at the Henry County Classic, the Panthers clicked on all cylinders, beating Union Grove 61-30. It was the first career win for Farmer and the first victory this season for the Panthers.
"Everybody stepped it up and we played as a team," Farmer said. "It was a good win for us. Hopefully everything will start to come together now."
The Panthers used a balanced scoring attack as three different players scored in double figures for Forest Park. Santonio Parker led all scorers with 11 points and Anthony Booker and Brion Folarin scored 10 points each en route to the Panthers' win.
Union Grove struggled to find its offense throughout the game and didn't place anybody in double figures. Greg Williams was the Wolverines' leading scorer with 7 points.
Forest Park led 10-5 at the end of the first quarter and then stuffed a potential scoring spurt by Union Grove early in the second quarter.
Union Grove's Drew Thompson cut the lead to 10-7 and Kyle Brunson to 11-9 minutes into the second quarter, before Forest Park ran away with the game.
Twice during the quarter, Booker converted a three-point play. Xavier Benjamin also came up with a three-point play in the quarter as the Panthers closed out the first half on a 21-2 run to lead 31-13 at the break.
The Panthers led 43-22 at the end of the third quarter.
Three-point shots by Parker and Michael Weems in the fourth quarter closed out the game.
Newton County 66, Henry County 35 (boys): The Newton County girls basketball team came into the Henry County Classic as one of the favorites to win the annual holdiay event.
A two-point loss to Forest Park in the first round of the event on Monday ended those hopes.
Tuesday afternoon in consolation-round contest, Newton County got its game back on track at the expense of the Henry County Ladyhawks as the Lady Rams rolled to a 66-35 win.
Newton County hit the first shot of the game. From there, the outcome was never in doubt.
The Lady Rams led 22-7 at the end of the first quarter and 38-13 at the break. Henry County took itself out of the contest with poor shooting. The Ladyhawks managed to hit just three shots from the field.
Little changed in the second half as Newton County led 56-22 at the end of the third quarter.
Kehyah Sadler attempted to keep Henry County in the contest with a 16 point effort.
Shanetria Hill and Ebony Johnson scored 10 each for the Lady Rams.