Photo by Derrick Mahone
Jonesboro players Kimberly Dawkins (No. 11), Vicky Sutton (No. 22) and Raven Wynn all played a big part in the team reaching the Class AAAA semifinals.
The season: After starting the season 8-6, the Lady Panthers saw a dramatic turnaround as they won 16 of their last 17 games. Forest Park reached its classification semifinals for the third time in the last four seasons. With a team of mostly underclassmen, the Lady
BY THE NUMBERS
Consecutive wins after starting the season 3-3.
Average points allowed per game.
Number of seniors on Jonesboro’s roster this season.
Panthers compiled a 24-8 record and clinch the Region 4-AAAAA championship. Entering the season, Forest Park had to replace two-time Clayton County Player of the Year Ashlee Cole. In addition, juniors Kayla Potts and Tiffany Wilson were coming off major knee surgery that sidelined them for the enter 2011-12 season.
What went right: While at times the Lady Panthers offense was clicking, they built their team around defense. Forest Park averaged 14 steals per game with Wilson, a talented junior playing at the top of their press. With Potts, a point guard, in the lineup, the Lady Panthers were 16-1, losing only to Southwest DeKalb in the Class AAAAA semifinals on Saturday.
What needs to improve: Scoring. Forest Park only averaged 41 points a game, and had five games were they didn’t get at least 30 points. The scoring should pickup next season with Potts playing a full season.
Chances for next season: The only player that won’t return is top reserve Tequilla Richardson, who is the lone senior on the team. Potts is one of the top players in the Southern Crescent and the inside production should be up with the return of Wilson, Breasia McElrath and Kanisha Tharpe. Leadership and experience shouldn’t be a problem since all the returning players good a significant amount of playing time.
Coach Steven Cole says: “I’m really pleased at the way this young team came together this season. We never used our youth as an excuse. With what we got coming back, we are expecting to make another playoff run. We just need a few more pieces to be complete.”