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Forest Park girls looking to step up pace

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Forest Park coach Steven Cole says his team must come out ready to play in Friday's second round playoff game against visiting Northside-Warner Robins.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Forest Park coach Steven Cole says his team must come out ready to play in Friday's second round playoff game against visiting Northside-Warner Robins.

FOREST PARK — Of course Forest Park coach Steven Cole isn’t making any predictions on the outcome of today’s matchup against Northside-Warner Robins, but the Lady Panthers coach does expect a better performance from his team.

The Lady Panthers played sluggish basketball in its first-round Class AAAAA playoff win over Northside-Columbus on Tuesday.

Cole is hoping for a little more urgency in this 6 p.m. second-round match.

“This game, we have to come out ready from the start,” Cole said. “We missed a lot of free throws and easy baskets the other night.”

Against Northside-Columbus, the team built an eight-point lead only to see it evaporate in the second half. A Kayla Potts driving basket with five seconds remaining proved to be the difference in the 50-48 win at home.

Potts lead the team with a game-high 16 points.

“We did just enough to win the game,” Cole said.

So after two days of “good practices this week”, Cole said he expects to see a different team today.

And playing at home again should help.

“Playing at home has been nice,” Cole said. “It is a reward for the girls and our community to see us play.”

While the offense might have stalled against Northside-Columbus, the team said its defense was the key. During its current seven-game winning streak, Forest Park is only yielding 25 points per game to its opponents. Forest Park hasn’t loss since Jan. 26 when they suffered a setback to Southwest DeKalb in a non-region game.

It is something the team takes pride in.

“When we can’t make our offense go, we always know we can go to our defense,” sophomore center Breasia McElrath said.

“I don’t know if it was nerves in the first round, but we had to grind it out,” Potts said. “You got to give credit to Northside, because that was an intense game.”