Photo by Derrick Mahone
Forest Park and coach Steven Cole face a tough challenge this evening when the seventh-ranked Lady Panthers travel to Mundy’s Mill in a key Region 4-AAAA contest. Mundy’s Mill is a game behind first-place Forest Park in the region standings.
Mundy’s Mill girls coach Tu Willingham tried his best Monday to downplay the significant of today’s Region 4-AAAA game against Forest Park.
He offered the usual coachspeak about this being just “another game on the schedule” as the Lady Tigers prepare to host Class AAAA’s seventh-ranked team and defending region champion.
But not many people will be buying that, going into the 6 p.m. tip-off.
Forest Park will play its first game since Jonesboro snapped its 32-game region win streak last week. To add to the plot, a win by Mundy’s Mill would pull the Lady Tigers into a first-place tie.
Just another game?
“If you get too up for one game, that sends the wrong message to your players that one game is more important than the others,” Willingham insisted. “My approach is that all the games on our schedule are important.”
But this carries a little more significance at this stage in the season. At stake is the regular-season championship, which carries an automatic berth into the state tournament.
The teams met on Jan. 6 at Forest Park, with the host team winning 51-46. It was a close affair throughout. Forest Park’s Ashlee Cole, a High Point signee, finished with 24 points while Mundy’s Mill’s Moneshia Dyer chipped in 21.
Willingham said the biggest difference in the game was free-throw shooting.
Forest Park made its free throws during “crunch time” while the Lady Tigers had troubles. For the game, Mundy’s Mill was only 7 of 17 on free throws, and missed all four of its shots at the line in the fourth quarter.
“We have got to knock down our free throws,” Willingham said. “If you miss free throws against an opportunistic team like Forest Park, you will be in trouble. They are too good of a team not to capitalize on your mistakes.”
Lady Panthers coach Steven Cole said after the game that his team should not have any problems bouncing back from the 52-39 loss to Jonesboro.
“By no means do we think the season is over,” Cole said.
“That loss was not the end of the world,” senior forward Cydni Bivins.