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Big stakes on line between Forest Park, North Clayton

Photo by Derrick Mahone
North Clayton coach Martisse Troup calls tonight’s opponent — Forest Park — the “hottest team” in the region. The winner of tonight’s matchup secures the No. 3 seed in next week’s Region 4-AAAA tournament.

Photo by Derrick Mahone North Clayton coach Martisse Troup calls tonight’s opponent — Forest Park — the “hottest team” in the region. The winner of tonight’s matchup secures the No. 3 seed in next week’s Region 4-AAAA tournament.

Chances are both Forest Park and North Clayton will be pretty pumped when the teams meet this evening in the regular-season finale for both squads.

In addition to it being “Senior Night” at Forest Park, postseason region tournament seedings are on the line. The winner of tonight’s 7:30 p.m. game will secure the No. 3 seed in next week’s Region 4-AAAA tournament at Tri-Cities High in East Point.

Forest Park won the earlier meeting between the two schools.

“It is a big game,” North Clayton coach Martisse Troup said. “But there isn’t much difference in being a No. 3 seed in this region. Everybody is competitive, and you will have to be at your best to win.”

North Clayton had just come off an upset win over ranked Lovejoy before losing to Forest Park at home. Troup says his team did not overlook Forest Park in the aftermath of the win against Lovejoy.

“Forest Park is definitely one of the top teams in our region,” Troup said. “They are the hottest team in the region. They have beaten or played everyone tough.”

In the loss to Lovejoy on Saturday, North Clayton standout forward Marcus Hunt had 26 points, snapping a string of five straight games of at least 30 points.

Hunt, a Georgia Tech signee, had his No. 24 jersey retired during ceremonies at the game.

“As a whole, the entire team has been playing well,” Troup said. “We have really bonded together as a team.”

TITLE ON THE LINE: Forest Park’s girls can secure the regular- season championship tonight when they host North Clayton. The Lady Panthers, the defending region champions, have a game lead over Jonesboro.

If Forest Park loses to North Clayton, and Jonesboro defeats Banneker, the teams will be tied for first and will have to use a tiebreaker format to determine the regular season champion.

THE WAITING GAME: Lovejoy ended its regular season on Saturday with an overtime win at North Clayton. The win gave the Wildcats the Region 4-AAAA regular season title.

With that title, the Wildcats have secured a state-tournament bid. Lovejoy will get a bye to the semifinals of the region tournament, meaning it can do no worse than finish fourth, which is good enough to make state.