Hot shooting carries Forest past North Marion

Wildcats use a barrage of 3-pointers to ease past Colts

Home » News
Posted January 20, 2024 | By Mark Pinson
Special to The Ocala Gazette

Forest senior guard Zay McCoy poured in a game-high 26 points and junior forward Xavier Kirkpatrick added 18 points and seven rebounds to lead the Wildcats to a 74-55 win over North Marion on Friday night.

The win improved Class 6A Forest, which knocked down 11 3-pointers, to 15-5 on the season. The Wildcats’ proficiency from behind the arc helped them extend a slim four-point halftime lead to double digits en route to the victory.

“We really put it together in the second half with our transition and getting the ball up the floor early, making the extra pass and hitting the open shots,” said Forest coach Mike Hoffman. “Shooting 3-pointers is kind of our calling card and that’s our way to win. We try to make as many as we can and hang on. Our defense and communication was better in the second half and we did a good job of boxing out as well.”

The loss dropped Class 4A North Marion to 7-8 overall. The Colts pulled within 10 points in the final quarter, but turnovers and missed shots thwarted their comeback.

“Forest got some looks that we were trying not to give up and they shot the ball extremely well,” said North Marion coach Timothy Yarn. “It’s tough to win when you give up 11 3-pointers, but we battled and fought and scrapped and I’m proud of our guys, but it was just one of those nights.”

Forest took the early lead as Isaac Timmons scored in the paint and McCoy added seven points, while Kirkpatrick made four free throws to give the Wildcats a narrow 16-14 advantage heading to the second quarter.

Both teams heated up from the floor as North Marion drained a trio of 3-pointers and sophomore Jerdarrius Jackson added four of his team-high 16 points to go with a pair of steals to keep the Colts close.

Forest kept connecting from long distance, as Kirkpatrick nailed back-to-back 3 pointers, McCoy added another and Timmons had a pair of putbacks to give the Wildcats a 33-29 lead at the half.

North Marion, which committed 15 turnovers, struggled to score in the third period and Forest took full advantage as

Kirkpatrick scored four points, Anthony Rivera drained a 3-pointer and Carson Davison had back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Wildcats a commanding 53-40 lead heading to the final eight minutes.

Forest kept the pressure on as Kirkpatrick scored four points and McCoy added nine points, including a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Wildcats a 63-48 lead midway through the final period.

North Marion’s Brenden Barber scored three of his 11 points and Jermaine Jackson added five of his eight points, but Forest’s Sean Curry scored three points to help the Wildcats ease to the victory.

Forest is back in action with a home game against Vanguard on Jan. 26, while North Marion hosts West Port on Tuesday night.

newspaper icon

Support community journalism

The first goal of the Ocala Gazette is to deliver trustworthy local journalism so corruption, misinformation and abuse are not hidden from the public or unchallenged.

We count on community support to continue this important work. Please donate or subscribe: