FPD girls basketball head coach Charley Chase hoped his team’s early-game shooting slump would reverse itself as the game progressed.
The turnaround never came, and Greenforest Christian used a stifling zone defense and an inspired effort from Moses Johnson to pull away with a 45-23 region win Friday.
Greenforest (11-4, 7-1 GHSA Region 9-A) stayed in a zone defense throughout the entire ballgame, and FPD couldn’t make enough shots to force the Eagles to make defensive adjustments. The Lady Vikings (11-10, 6-2) made just four field goals in the first three quarters and finished with seven made baskets overall.
“As we continued missing, they continued backing (the zone) into the paint, and then we couldn’t do anything against them,” Chase said.
Johnson was the catalyst for the Eagles, outscoring FPD’s entire team with her 26 points. She scored 40 points in a loss to Mt. Paran in the Eagles’ previous game.
“She’s just an outstanding player,” Chase said. “She can do a lot of things; she’s a great ballhandler, and she gets her teammates involved.”
The Lady Vikings never settled into a rhythm offensively, and they only managed five first-half points against the Greenforest zone. FPD made two 3-pointers in the third quarter, but it never got closer after Johnson made a basket to start the third quarter.
FPD went into the game undermanned after losing Savannah Phillips, a versatile sophomore point guard, to a left leg injury Saturday. Phillips remains in a walking boot, and Chase said he wasn’t sure when she may return.
The loss of Phillips places a strain on a youthful team that has just two seniors and two juniors.
The game did end on a high point for the Vikings when senior Macie Turner drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer on senior night.
The FPD boys fought Greenforest tough for a half, but the Eagles used defensive pressure to pull away with a 57-35 win.
FPD (9-12, 3-5) led early in the second quarter, and the Vikings trailed by just three with a few minutes to go in the first half before Greenforest (16-4, 6-2) went into the half on a 12-3 run.
“I felt (coming into the game) they would put the defensive pressure on us, and they did,” FPD head coach Michael Brooker said. “They really amped it up in the second quarter and kept it on us throughout the second half.”
The Vikings got back to within eight early in the third quarter, but the Eagles, who lost to No. 2 Whitefield Academy by five on Jan. 17 -- hit a 16-1 spurt to lead by 23 early in the fourth quarter.