By Brian Howard
Cordarryl Kendric scored 14 of his game-high 19 points in the first half as the Forest Park High School boys basketball team ended the Mt. Zion Tip-Off Classic with a 54-43 victory over Henry County Saturday.
Kendric, who pulled down five rebounds, had 11 points after the first quarter and hit three straight 3-pointers as the Panthers (2-1) built a 17-6 lead. Edima Ufot added 18 points and seven boards, as Forest Park bounced back from Tuesday's loss to Newnan.
Larry McCarden chipped in with six points and nine boards, while Brandon Watson had a point and nine rebounds.
Forest Park dominated the first half on the boards, outrebounding the Warhawks, 31-6. The Panthers held a 46-21 advantage on the glass for the game.
After jumping out to a 17-6 first-quarter lead, Forest Park took its biggest lead of the game, 26-11 with 3:59 remaining in the first half on an Ufot jumper. But the Warhawks used a 10-2 run to close out the second quarter, trailing 28-21 at the half.
Henry County (1-2) opened the third quarter with five straight baskets, taking a 32-28 lead on a Kell Smith jumper with 4:14 left in the quarter.
But the Panthers answered as Ufot hit a jumper on the following offensive possession and Forest Park capitalized on three free throws on a pair of Henry County technicals to take a 33-32 lead with 2:56 remaining in the third.
The Panthers ended the half by outscoring the Warhawks, 5-1, and taking a 38-33 advantage into the fourth.
In the final quarter, Forest Park, leading 40-36, went on a 10-1 run, capped by a Josh Watkins putback with 2:40 remaining to push the Panthers' lead to 50-37.
Steven Dingle led the Warhawks with 12 points and four rebounds. Smith had nine points and three boards.
In the girls contest, Henry County routed Forest Park, 55-8.
Keyah Sadler scored 10 of her team-high 14 points in the second half to pace the Lady Warhawks (1-4). Nikki Holloway added 11 points and six boards, while Danieka Allen finished with nine points and five rebounds.
The start of the game was delayed 10 minutes because both teams brought gold jerseys. Forest Park switched to their shooting tops, although they were deemed the home team in the tournament.
Forest Park, playing without three starters, trailed 17-3 after the first quarter, with all three points coming from the free-throw line. The Lady Warhawks held the Lady Panthers scoreless in the second quarter, taking a 29-3 lead into the half.
Forest Park failed to pick up a field goal in the third quarter, while Henry County extended the margin to 42-4.
Because of the big lead, the officials dropped the fourth quarter from eight minutes to six.
During the final quarter, Forest Park finally got its first field goal.
Trailing, 44-4, Ashley Beavers scored on a putback with 4:33 remaining.
Quintessa Booker led Forest Park (0-3) with four points, all coming from the free-throw line.
Forest Park travels Tuesday to Jonesboro, while Henry County visits Jackson.
In other games played Saturday in the final day of the Mt. Zion Tip-Off Classic, the Jonesboro girls lost its first game of the season to Newnan, 43-41. In the boys contest, the Cardinals bounced back after Tuesday's overtime loss to Riverdale by beating the Cougars, 46-32.
In the Our Lady of Mercy Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament, Dutchtown, which advanced to the title game after beating Our Lady of Mercy, 76-67, Friday, lost to Whitewater, 68-60.
The Bulldogs (2-1) get a chance at revenge Tuesday with a home contest against the Wildcats.