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Mount Zion shakes off pesky Forest Park

Photo by Jerry Jackson
Forest Park guard Tim Pope tries to drive against a Mount Zion defender in the teams’ Region 4-AAAAA, Div. B contest on Friday.

Photo by Jerry Jackson Forest Park guard Tim Pope tries to drive against a Mount Zion defender in the teams’ Region 4-AAAAA, Div. B contest on Friday.

FOREST PARK — Maybe Mount Zion was looking ahead, maybe Forest Park had the perfect gameplan. Whatever the case may be, the early results from the two teams’ meeting at Forest Park were not in the Bulldogs’ favor.

Down 13 points after one quarter, Mount Zion needed all four quarters to reverse its fortunes and comeback to beat Forest Park 49-46 on Friday in a Region 4-AAAAA, Div. A contest.

“We had to make some adjustments in the second half,” Bulldogs head Maurice Triche said. “They are a smaller team, and they are a quicker team, and they were using that to their advantage.”

Tim Pope helped the Panthers’ cause in the first quarter, scoring seven of his team’s 21 points in that period. A Pope basket put Forest Park up 8-4. That was followed by a Richard Jackson dish to Kendaris James for a score and 10-4 lead. Later a Pope 3-pointer made the score 15-4. A two-handed dunk by J.R. Holder finally stopped the Panthers’ spurt, but Forest Park ball pressure was forcing Mount Zion into quick looks at the basket and turnovers.

“I figured we could press them early and speed them up,” said Forest Park head coach Antonio Wade.

Mount Zion (11-3, 6-1) gained ground in the second quarter, as a Holder put back cut the Forest Park lead to 29-21 with 1:12 left in the half and the Bulldogs eventually trailed 31-22 at the break.

A Holder 3-pointer, cut the Panthers’ lead to 42-37 at the end of three quarters, taking some air out of Forest Park. Mount Zion took advantage and scored the first 10 points of the final quarter, coming within one on a Juan Patterson bank shot and taking the lead on a Joshua Jones turnaround with 5:10 left to play. Trent Molden then hit two buckets and the game had completely turned around.

Holder, a Jacksonville signee, led Mount Zion with 15 points and Molden had 11. Cody Simmons finished with nine points and 10 rebounds. Pope led Forest Park with 18 points and James finished with 10.

Mount Zion will now face state-ranked Jonesboro on Saturday.

“The kids are up for it,” Triche said. “But what I try to teach them is it’s just another game.”