Photo by Jerry Jackson
North Clayton senior Marcus Hunt goes up for a dunk attempt in the first half of the Eagles’ Region 4-AAAA game against visiting Forest Park on Friday.
North Clayton entered its game against Forest Park in a three-way tie with Lovejoy and Jonesboro for the lead in Region 4-AAAA. With that in mind, a victory was key for the Eagles to keep pace in the tight region race.
However, the visiting Panthers put a clamp in those plans.
With 26 fourth-quarter points, Forest Park rallied and pulled off a shocking 63-55 upset over North Clayton to finish up the first half its Region 4-AAAA schedule. The Panthers improve to 9-5 overall and 6-4 in the region, while North Clayton is now 10-5 overall and 8-2 in the region.
Forest Park trailed 45-37 entering the fourth quarter after North Clayton out-scored the Panthers 18-8 in the third quarter. But Forest Park opened the quarter on a 9-1 run to tie the game as Lemuel Fuller scored twice on lay-ups and Costa Anderson’s two free throws evened the game at 46-46 with 4:14 remaining.
There were three ties in the next three minutes before Forest Park took the lead for good on a jumper in the lane by guard Darius Carmichael. That gave Forest Park at 54-52 lead with 1:12 remaining. In the final minute, the Panther defense stiffened, allowing North Clayton only one field goal. Meanwhile, Forest Park converted 9-for-12 in the final minute to seal the victory.
Four players reached double-figures for the Panthers, paced by 18 points from Carmichael, a senior. Anderson scored 14 points, followed by senior Nichalos Crawford with 11 points and Fuller added 10 points.
Senior forward Marcus Hunt paced North Clayton with 18 points. He electrified the crowd with four breakaway dunks in the first quarter, but Forest Park limited Hunt to only four points in the second half. Devin Lewis scored 15 points for the Eagles.