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Cardinals capture elusie region title

By Brian Paglia

bpaglia@news-daily.com

Jesse Gardner's layup with five seconds left gave Jonesboro a dramatic 50-48 victory over Forest Park in the Region 4-AAAA tournament championship game, a feat that had eluded the Cardinals the past two seasons.

Gardner led the Cardinals (18-10) with 13 points, including three 3s, while Antonio Gardner added 11 points and five rebounds.

Jonesboro shot well in the first half, connecting on five of the team's seven 3s in building a 31-25 halftime lead.

Forest Park (15-9) took a brief 48-47 lead late in the fourth quarter on a layup by Lamont Jackson. But Jason Griffin hit one of two free throws to tie the game, and Gardner took a hailmary pass down the court from Mario Cummings after Jackson missed two free throws.

Brandon McCarden led the Panthers with 19 points and nine rebounds.