By Joshua Kraeger
Special to the Daily
The Panthers overcame a slow second quarter Tuesday night at home against the Raiders to escape with a 55-52 victory.
Both teams were riding winning streaks coming into the game, and it was evident in the first quarter. Forest Park maintained a slight edge at 15-12 after one quarter of play, but in the second quarter the Raiders turned up the intensity on offense, outscoring the Panthers 16-7. The Raiders held a 28-22 lead going into the half, but the Panthers were quick to respond.
Forest Park came out running in the second half, playing fastbreak basketball and outscoring the Panthers 23-10. The offensive onslaught was led by senior point guard Malikki Priester and junior point guard Nichalos Crawford. Priester scored 11 of his 14 points in a run that gave the Panthers the lead, and the momentum.
Riverdale's defense was the story of the fourth quarter, converting Forest Park's turnovers into quick points to pull within one point with 32 seconds remaining in the game.
Junior shooting guard Darius Carmichael made two free throws with 18 seconds left in the game. This gave the Panthers a 55-52 lead that would withstand the Raiders' comeback effort, and give them an upset victory over an impressive Riverdale squad.
Forest Park (7-6) will look to keep its winning streak alive Friday night at home against Mundy's Mill (6-5). Riverdale (10-5) will look to start a new winning streak Friday night when they play at Tri-Cities (5-5).
Forest Park 53, Riverdale 25 (girls):
The Lady Panthers came out firing on all cylinders and never looked back as they cruised to a 53-25 victory over the Lady Raiders Tuesday night at home.
Riverdale played tough defense in the first quarter, holding Forest Park to 14 points, but the Lady Raiders' offense faltered, scoring only eight points.
The Lady Panthers put on an offensive barrage in the second and third quarters, producing 37 points, 10 of which came from highly-touted junior guard Ashlee Cole. Forest Park's defense kept pace, allowing a mere 11 points in the second and third quarter.
The defensive stand gave the Lady Panthers a 51-19 lead going into the final quarter, playing out the clock for most of the quarter and securing an impressive 53-25 victory.
The Lady Panthers (9-5) play at Mundy's Mill (7-1) Friday night. They will look to keep their perfect record against in-state opponents. The Lady Raiders will look to break their four-game losing streak when they face Tri-Cities on Friday night.