Forest Park was 27-5 in 2018-19 and lost to Lanier in the title game. The Panthers were 21-5 in 2017-18. That adds up to 83-18 over the last three-plus seasons.
The Panthers are again led 6-foot-4 senior Sania Feagin, who has signed with South Carolina. Feagin, a first-team all-state selection last season, is averaging 19.8 points, 11 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 6.1 blocks. Last year, when she was chosen as the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, she averaged 17.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.6 blocks.
“I’ve been here 20 years and she may be the best we’ve had come through here at Forest Park,” Cole said. “She have all the tools … post play, handing the ball, shooting, leadership.
The other senior starters are Olympia Chaney, a transfer from Westlake who averages 12.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 4.1 steals, and Jasmine Stevens, a four-year starter who averages 11.6 points and 6.2 rebounds.
The rest of the lineup is young. Sophomore Jayda Brown is in her second season as the starting point guard and averages 6.3 points, 2.9 assists and 2.8 steals, while freshman Yasmine Allen averages 5.1 points and 2.1 rebounds. Senior Ghylissa Knowles averages 5.9 points off the bench.
“The pride comes in with putting in the work and understanding what it takes to be a champion,” Cole said. “At Forest Park we try to be more than just a girls basketball team. We try to teach life skills, our program is academic-based and our girls are held to high expectations.”
The Panthers (8-2) have played a challenging schedule and have lost only to Class AA powerhouse Holy Innocents’ and mighty Monteverde Academy of Orlando, Fla., in overtime. Their wins include Southwest DeKalb, Greater Atlanta Christian and Lovejoy.
Forest Park has plays once-beaten Tri-Cities on Tuesday in a big Region 3 contest. The Bulldogs are led by Shyni McGee, who averages 21 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.1 steals.
Forest Park has difficult two tough non-region game coming up against old rival Hughes and Westlake, the defending Class 7A champion, and returns to league play to face Woodward Academy.
“We want to play against the best,” Cole said. “It prepares you for the next level.”