MACON — It’s been quite a start to the weekend for Sania Feagin of the Forest Park Lady Panthers. On Friday, she was named the Gatorade Georgia Girls Basketball Player of the Year. On Saturday, she and the Lady Panthers were crowned Class AAAAAA champions following their 46-30 win over the Glynn Academy Lady Terrors at the Macon Centreplex.
Feagin, a class of ‘21 five-star recruit, scored nine points and Western Carolina signee Joi Reid had a team-high 10 points to lead the No. 3-ranked Lady Panthers (27-6) to their first state title since 1970, when they won AAA.
Feagin considers the title game victory as a gift to coach Steven Cole, who is in his eighth season with the program.
“First of all, it’s our coach’s birthday,” said the 6-foot-4 Feagin. “So, happy birthday to him. We did this for him to celebrate his birthday.”
The Lady Panthers were in control from the beginning, using a full-court press to stunt the No. 5 Lady Terrors (26-5) and hover around a double-digit lead for most of the game. They forced 17 turnovers for 14 points, thanks to 10 steals — including a team-high four from Janaya Jones — and held Glynn Academy to 22.2-percent shooting from the field (10-of-45).
In addition to the team defense, the Lady Panthers had a balanced scoring attack led by Reid, Feagin, Jones (nine points), Jasmine Jacob (eight) and Jayda Bown (seven).
Forest Park never trailed in the game, leading 13-2 after the first quarter and 21-13 at halftime. In the second half, the Lady Terrors never got closer than 21-15 at the start of the third quarter.
“We’ve been a whole team all year long and everyone just kind of played their role to do what they had to do to be successful,” Cole said.
The Lady Panthers’ championship puts an exclamation point on their recent success, which includes trips to the semifinals in seven of the last eight seasons and a 2011 runner-up finish. As the No. 2 seed from Region 4, they beat Bradwell Institute (63-27), Sprayberry (66-55), Douglas County (62-21) and No. 2 Valdosta (53-38) to reach the title game.
Glynn Academy, a No. 1 seed from Region 2, is the state’s oldest school, founded in 1788, and its quest for the first state title in program history fell one game short. The Lady Terrors were playing in just their third-ever state title game, with the others coming in 1952 and 1950. It was their best season since 1995, when they reached the semifinals.
“We made too many mistakes and a lot of our kids were in foul trouble,” Lady Terrors third-year coach Sharnesha Smith said. “It’s kind of hard to play like that. We just didn’t play like we were supposed to play and execute like we were supposed to execute.”
The Lady Terrors were called for 24 fouls to Forest Park’s 15, with Talia Hamilton and Shamya Flanders fouling out for Glynn Academy.
The Lady Terrors were led by Georgia signee Zoesha Smith, who had a game-high 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.