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Tillett’s technical sparks Forest Park's upset of Osbourn Park

Forest Park Coach Rebecca Tillett said she was only trying to protest a few charging calls that went against her girls’ basketball team when she was whistled for a technical foul in the third quarter Tuesday night.

At the time, No. 13 Osbourn Park was in the midst of a 15-2 run. But Tillett's technical put a charge into her team, and Forest Park, which trailed by 11 when the foul was called, woke from its slumber, staged a late rally and earned a 51-41 overtime victory.

“I think Tillett’s technical foul kind of helped us a little bit,” said sophomore Lexi Carpenter, who finished with a game-high 19 points and knocked down five three-pointers.

The technical came after Osbourn Park’s Kelly Hamner converted a layup with 1 minute 23 seconds left in the third period to put the Yellow Jackets ahead, 33-22. Hamner made one of her two free throws following the technical. But Forest Park outscored Osbourn Park by a 27-7 margin in the fourth quarter and overtime combined.

I asked Tillett whether she deliberately picked up the technical, which she said was her first since she was the head coach at Osbourn Park for four years prior to arriving at Forest Park for the 2007-08 season.

“I don’t think I was being purposeful in that sense, but I think they responded because they’ve never seen me get a technical,” Tillett said. “They’re not used to that, so maybe they said, ‘Coach has to sit down, let’s fight a little bit.’”

In the first half, the teams were never separated by more than three points, with seven lead changes and six ties. And thanks to a Sha’keerah Sykes layup just 3 seconds before halftime, Forest Park took a 22-19 lead into the break.

But in the second half, Osbourn Park came out on fire and used four different players to score 15 points. Numerous times the Yellow Jackets allowed Forest Park to take one shot and then snatched up the rebound, as they held a 37-21 advantage in that category for the game.

Forest Park started to rush things and take inopportune shots, and the result was a scoreless drought for the Bruins that stretched all the way until Carpenter converted a layup with :54 left in the quarter.

Yet with Osbourn Park carrying a 34-24 lead into the fourth -- and Tillett warned to sit down and stay quiet -- Forest Park rallied back, starting the period with a 9-3 run, which included two threes from Carpenter.

After Hamner scored with 3:58 left to put Osbourn Park ahead, 39-33, Forest Park’s Tichina Mitchell answered with her only field goal of the night at 2:51, bringing her team back within four.

Less than a minute later, Forest Park freshman Breyana Mason created a turnover, got to the line and sank both free throws with 2:01 to go before converting an off-balance layup with :12 to go to force overtime.

“At that point I was just trying to get one of my teammates open or score,” said Mason, who finished with 12 points and was 4 of 4 from the free throw line. “I was just hoping to put us in a position to win or go into overtime.”

The loss was Osbourn Park’s first this season, dropping the Yellow Jackets to 6-1 overall, 2-1 in the Cardinal District. Coach Clifton Gorham was none too happy after the game and lumped most of the blame on himself.

“I must take responsibility,” said Gorham, whose team beat then-No. 1 Riverdale Baptist, 47-43, on Dec. 4. “There are lessons that I must not have taught in practice. There must have been connections that I haven’t made.”

Carpenter was the catalyst for Forest Park (6-4, 3-0 Cardinal), and it was evident early on that it was going to be a successful night for her. Though she entered this one having knocked down only two threes all season, she matched that total with 5:32 left in the second period and had 11 points by halftime.

“That’s what I feel most comfortable with -- shooting,” Carpenter said. “Everything just fell into place, and I felt like I was in a zone.”

Junior Destiny Shearin finished with 9 points and 6 rebounds for Osbourn Park, while senior Rachel Gordon (Norfolk State) had 10 and 13. Hamner, a Holy Cross recruit, totaled 13 points, 8 rebounds and made 4 of her 8 free throws.

“We are where we are, and we’re the hunted,” Gorham said. “We’re going to get everybody’s best games every night, and that was one of the best games I’ve seen [Forest Park] play.”

By Jason Mackey  |  January 6, 2010; 12:20 AM ET
Categories:  Cardinal District , Forest Park , Girls' Basketball , Northwest Region , Osbourn Park  
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