To the casual local basketball observer, it may have seemed unlikely that Forest Park would be able to duplicate the success of its 2010-11 season.
The Foresters lost their top two scorers off a 17-6 team that fell to Northwestern in the title game of the Baltimore City Division II title game. Sharod Hartgrove, who averaged more than 17 points as a junior, transferred to Digital Harbor in the offseason, and Quentin Judd, who scored 20 per game, graduated.
Forest Park coach Greate White, however, was confident that his 2011-12 squad could be similarly successful. On Thursday night, the Foresters took another step toward proving their coach right with a 71-55 win over visiting City.
“When you can get a Lake Clifton and a City and a Digital [Harbor] win in the same season, I think that’s a big statement,” White said. “We’ve just got to keep playing out. We did a heck of a job last year. ... Now these kids smell it and they understand it. You don’t need one player to dominate the ball. We can pass the ball around and make things happen.”
Rasheed Corbin and Wayne Hill led the Foresters with 17 points apiece. Junior forward Anton Waters added eight points and grabbed 20 rebounds. Sophomore forward Dwayne Morgan led the Knights with 20 points.
“[City] has all the height and we had a lot of energy,” White said. “So our guys did the fundamental things and boxed guys out. City has a fundamentally sound front line. So we had to find a way to get it done. We got some guys in foul trouble, and our guys just kept pushing.”
Waters, 6-5, 190 pounds, said he's being recruited by Iona, Iowa State, Penn State, Tulane and UNC-Wilmington. The Green Wave are the early favorite in his recruitment.
Judd was back at his alma mater Thursday to witness the Foresters' big win. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard had a brief stint at a prep school in North Carolina, but returned to Baltimore because of a "family issue." Now he's working out and preparing to leave town in May for Pensacola (Fla.) State College.
"[Florida Gulf Coast assistant and Baltimore native Kevin] 'Stink' [Norris] had called Coach White and told Coach White that he heard I was still in town and that he could get me into a school," Judd said. "That’s when he put me on with [Pensacola] coach [Joey] Murdock."
Former Forest Park star Antoine Myers is a sophomore guard at Pensacola. Judd hopes that his JUCO stint leads to plenty of exposure and a DI scholarship.
"I’m very excited," Judd said. "I’m ready for the challenge."