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Clutch free throws lift Forest Park girls to win

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Mundy’s Mill guard Moneshia Dyer (22) attempts to guard Forest Park’s Raven Wynn on an inbound pass in the fourth quarter of the Region 4-AAAA game on Friday. Forest Park won 51-46 to extend its 29-game region win streak.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Mundy’s Mill guard Moneshia Dyer (22) attempts to guard Forest Park’s Raven Wynn on an inbound pass in the fourth quarter of the Region 4-AAAA game on Friday. Forest Park won 51-46 to extend its 29-game region win streak.

As much as the Forest Park girls tried, they couldn’t give the game to Mundy’s Mill on Friday in a Region 4-AAAA contest.

The sixth-ranked Lady Panthers, who were plagued by turnovers the entire game, made enough big free throws in the closing minutes at home for a 51-46 win to extend their region win streak to 29.

Senior Ashlee Cole had a game-high 24 points to lead the Lady Panthers, who were playing their third game without second-leading scorer Kayla Pitts, who learned earlier Friday that she will be out for the season with a torn ACL injury.

“I’m just proud of how the girls didn’t give up, because they played hard in the fourth quarter,” Forest Park coach Steven Cole said.

Trailing most of the game, Forest Park was perfect on eight free throws to take the lead for good at 34-32 with six minutes remaining. In the fourth quarter, the Lady Panthers were 12 of 13 on free-throw attempts, including making four in the closing seconds to seal the win.

The free-throw shooting was a complete contrast of poor shooting earlier in the season.

“In one game we only made four of 20 from the free-throw line,” Steven Cole said. “We’ve been working on our free-throw shooting and it has paid off.”

With Forest Park clinging to a 47-46 lead and 22 seconds remaining, Forest Park junior guard Raven Wynn, an 88 percent free-throw shooter, was fouled. She hit both to extend the lead to 49-46. Ashlee Cole, a High Point University signee, hit two free throws with 15 seconds remaining to close out the scoring.

“We had Raven in the game to get fouled,” Cole said.

With the win, Forest Park improved to 10-4 overall and 8-0 in the region as Mundy’s Mill fell to 9-4 and 5-2. The Lady Tigers were led by Moneshia Dyer, who had 21 points, while teammate Briana McQueen finished with 11 points.

“We didn’t play well at the end of the game,” Mundy’s Mill coach Tu Willingham said. “We made some silly fouls at the end. We’ve got to learn to manage the game better. We had them, but it seems as if we were afraid to win the game.”

However, Willingham said this will be something his team could build on for the rest of the season. The teams play again on Jan. 24.

“Most definitely this will show that we have the ability to win a game like this,” Willingham said. “We will use this as a learning experience.”