Last week, Forest Park was one of nine teams in action at Clayton State’s first girls’ basketball camp of the summer.“The competition will be better than what we had at Clayton State,” Cole said.
After putting the ball through the net in downtown Atlanta, the Lady Panthers will travel to Auburn and play at least four games to conclude their team camp schedule for the summer.
Even though the competition wasn’t the toughest at Clayton State for Forest Park, the Lady Panthers were still challenged by a few teams.
“Decatur and Columbia really gave us a real run,” Cole said. “We got to see how we would handle the ball against pressure. We remembered some of the things from the previous season and I think we did pretty good.”
Columbia has a good amount of talent still intact from last season’s Class AAAA championship team and likewise for Decatur, which advanced to the Elite Eight in Class AAA.The Lady Panthers had just as much talent on hand with rising seniors Kayla Potts and Tiffany Wilson in uniform along with rising juniors Kanisha Tharpe and Breasia McElrath.
“The summer is the time when you try to improve yourself,” Cole said. “Some players got better individually and we became more familiar as a team.”
“Forest Park has a very good starting five,” said Woodland-Henry coach Ashley Maddox, whose team also attended the camp. “I think they will be a good team to contend with.”
Despite having good guard play and size, the Lady Panthers have some health issues with rising seniors Shakira Thompson and I’Mani’ Richards out with knee injuries.
But rising sophomore Alexis High was impressive in their absence.
“She really did well,” Cole said. “She shot well. It looks like she will be a fill-in for some of the players we are waiting to return.”
This season, Forest Park will have eight players back from a 24-8 team which advanced to the Final Four in Class AAAAA. The Lady Panthers were a jumpshot away from forcing overtime against eventual-champion Southwest DeKalb.
Potts scored 19 points in that contest and was the team’s leading scorer (12.4 ppg) despite missing the first half of the season due to knee surgery.