Senior captain Justin Forrest ended his high school career in style, helping Greenforest Christian win its second straight Class A Private boys championship.
Forrest played his final game on the same court as his father, Georgia Tech standout James Forrest, and came up with 36 points to spark the No. 1-ranked Eagles to an 81-57 win over No. 2-ranked Southwest Atlanta Christian at McCamish Pavilion.
It was the third time Greenforest has beaten Southwest this season, with a 21-point average margin of victory. The Eagles finished with a 12-game winning streak.
It was even sweeter for Forrest, who suffered a serious injury in the summer and missed 10 games. He led the team in scoring with 12.8 points.
“It means a lot to come out here and win another championship,” Forrest said. “We’re like a family and we’ve worked hard this year to get here.”
“That kid, he’s a warrior,” Greenforest coach Larry Thompson said. “I could see this type of game building over the course of the last month. He wouldn’t take no for an answer today. He put us on his back offensively and did what he did for us all last year, lead us to another championship. I’m very, very pound of that kid and the work he’s put in, both on and off the floor. He wanted to go out with a bang today and he did.”
Greenforest (27-5) also got 14 points from Jandan Duggan and eight points from David Quimby. Florida State signee Ikey Obiagu had 10 rebounds and four blocks, but failed to score.
Southwest Atlanta Christian (23-9) got 16 points and three assists from Isiah Cotton and 12 points each from Johnathan King and Florida signee Deaundrae Ballard.
The game was tied 28-28 with 2:32 left in the first half when Greenforest went on a 10-1 run to take a 38-29 halftime lead. Duggan scored six and Forrest scored four in that run. Forrest scored 19 points in the first half.
“We preached at halftime about being able to find (Ballard) in transition and that make sure he’s catching the basketball 35 feet from the basket,” Thompson said.
It was the third championship in five seasons for Greenforest, a small school in south DeKalb County.
“Anytime you can win a state championship, no matter what number it is, it’s great,” Thompson said. “We’ve been with these for months now and they give you everything they have, hard work and dedication … we want to go and do it again.
Among those watching the game was Southwest Atlanta Christian graduate and benefactor Dwight Howard, who had to leave early to get to Philips Arena for the Atlanta Hawks game.
Greenforest (81): Jandan Duggan 14, Justin Forrest 36, Abayomi Lyiola 6, David Quimby 8, Michael Evans 3, Zion Fluellen 3, Victor Enoh 4, Mohammed Abdulsalem 7.
SW Atlanta Christian (57): Isiah Cotton 16, Johnathan King 12, Ronald Elloie 4, Lamar Oden 6, Deaundrae Ballard 12, Kobe Isaac 1, Josh Scott 4, Jayden Caldwell 2.