Morrow Middle, Forest Park claim middle school titles

By Doug Gorman

Morrow 45, Mundy's Mill 26, (girls): Morrow Middle School coach Micky Crawford is no stranger to success on the basketball court.

Thursday night in the championship of the Clayton County Middle School tournament, Crawford guided her team to a 45-26 victory against It was the eighth time Crawford has coached a middle school team to the county title.

Bringing the county title back to Morrow might have seemed like an impossibility for the team a year ago. Last season, the Lady Bobcats' seventh grade team won just one time.

"I think this year this team was bound and determined not to go through that kind of season again," she said.

The Lady Bobcats picked up triple double from Malashia Chandler en route to the win. Chandler finished with a game-high 16 points, and pulled down 18 rebounds and 10 assists.

Teammate Kandis Banks added 12 points for Morrow.

Despite the loss, just making it to the finals was a major accomplishment for the Lady Razorbacks.

Mundy's Mill lost its first five games of the season, and then peaked at just the right time.

"I'm proud of the way we played and just the turn around we enjoyed after the slow start," said Mundy's Mill coach Jim Horn.

Bryonne Ballard led the Lady Razorbacks with 12 points and teammate Krystal Gibson scored 10.

Mundy's Mill took a 6-3 lead early in the first half, but it wasn't in control of the game for long.

Chandler hit two free throws with 4:16 remaining to cap a 9-0 run and give Morrow a 15-6 lead.

When Banks hit back-to-back shots about two minutes later, Morrow led 21-9, the lead stayed a double-digits the rest of the way.

Forest Park 49, Kendrick 38 (boys): The Forest Park and Kendrick Middle School boys basketball teams have been waiting more than a month to answer an important question.

Who has the better team?

The two teams turned that question into a mystery when they played during the regular season.

A mandatory curfew forced the regular-season meeting to end in a tie.

Thursday night the squads were finally able to end the debate, and in all places, the Clayton County Championship game.

This time Forest Park came out on top, winning the Clayton County Championship with a 49-38 victory in a game played at M.D. Roberts.

Gabriel Johnson led Forest Park with 17 points. Terrance Perry added 11 for the Panthers.

Judson Dillard chipped in 15 to keep Kendrick in the game.

Forest Park made it into the county championship game with a couple of dramatic tournament wins along the way. The Panthers rallied from 11-points down against Mundy's Mill and seven points down against North Clayton. Both deficits were at halftime.

In the championship game, Forest Park led 13-11 at the break.

"This feels great," said Forest Park head coach Frederick Brown. "It's nice to restore some of the pride back at Forest Park."

Danny Carter's basket early in the second half gave Forest Park a 15-11 lead.

With Forest Park leading 16-13 later in the half, Kendrick stormed back when Dillard hit a 3-point shot to tie the game at 16-all.

The game was again tied at 18-all, but Kendrick took a 20-18 lead when Byron Graham gave the Comets the lead at 20-18.

Midway through the half, both teams went scoring spurts. Forest Park scored seven straight points and led 25-20 on Dante Valentine's basket.

Then Kendrick scored five straight points. A 3-point shot from Michael Adams tied the game at 25-all.

Forest Park then put the game away by outscoring Kendrick 11-0 over the span of about two minutes.

Greg Dodson's basket gave Forest Park a 36-25 lead, and the team didn't look back.

"I think our press bothered them a little bit and we were able to pull away," said Brown.