Some dividends you have to wait for, others pay off quick. The Forrest Middle School hoopsters earned a rapid return on the tough early investment as both squads won versus E.A. Cox on Monday in Chapel Hill.
"We knew we had a chance to lose our first four games because of the tough scheduling with Whitthorne and E.A. Cox, and to win one of those is great," said FMS boys coach Todd Garrison after his team finished off the clean sweep with a 57-50 win.
"This feels great, Garrison added, these two teams worked hard all summer and pre-season and we are proud of them."
Girls press Lady Cougars for lopsided victory
Coach Sherry Jones and the girl's squad came off the bench smoking hot as they scored the first fourteen points of the game. The Lady Rockets went into a smothering pressure defense that caused E.A. Cox to turn the ball over countless times in the first quarter.
Brittni Perryman started the game with a steal and driving lay-up as she scored six of the team's first twelve points. Perryman and running mate Katie Skinner continued the onslaught with a defense that forced the Lady Cougars into turnovers that resulted in a myriad of transition buckets and easy feeds into the low post to Adrean Jordan, Mandi Conley, and Lindsey McCullough.
E.A. Cox did not score until 1:11 of the quarter and trailed 16-2 at the end of the stanza.
The Lady Rockets did not rest as Hannah Phifer got into the act to begin the second quarter. Phifer was flying all over the court as she shut down the ball from coming up court, assisted on two buckets, and scored on a pretty follow-up. Candace Daughrity fed McCullough for the last bucket of the half and a commanding 24-6 lead for FMS.
Defense holds Lady Cougars to four points in second half
The second half was much of the same as the Lady Rockets continued the defensive pressure and allowed just four points the rest of the night. Jones had the luxury of playing the entire squad in the half and got great contributions from the whole team.
A 29-8 third quarter lead grew as Scarlett Roberson, Morgan Patton, Ciara Cook, and Amanda Chumbley all played the fourth quarter for Forrest. The final score was 37-10 as the Lady Rockets were led by Jordan with 8 points, Conley and Perryman had six, Daughrity 5, and Skinner and McCullough, 4 each.
Rockets survive nail-biter versus Cougars
For the Rockets, the road was much tougher as they faced a Cougar team that was talented, fast, and well known for defensive pressure.
Garrison did his homework scouting the Cougars as he prepared his squad for the press by practicing 5 on 9 to get ready.
"We went five on nine in practice to get ready for their press and we were able to get them out of it by the end of the first quarter. I am surprised they got out of it so early."
Logan Wheeler scored the game's first basket on a dish from Zack Ray and then the Cougars went into their press to go up 8-3 before Ryan Daughrity nailed a three-bomb to make 8-6. Cox pushed the score up late, 12-9 before Ray relentlessly followed his own shot three times to score the last points of a first quarter that had Cox leading, 12-11.
Zack Horvath came off the bench to score just after the second quarter started to put the Rockets back on top. Montrae Williams hit the second of his trio of 3's on the night to put Cox up 15-13. Ray would have none of it as he scored in the post, was fouled, and hit the free throw to see saw the lead back to FMS.
Ray and Daughrity tossed in baskets to stretch the lead 20-15 before Williams answered with the long three again to make 20-18. Ray scored three on another bucket and foul shot to make 23-18. Cox scored the next four points to edge closer, but Richard Hardin kissed in a lay-up down low to make it 25-22.
Cox hit another three-pointer to tie it at 25, but FMS scored seven of the next nine for a 32-27 halftime lead.
The game was becoming a physical battle with each possession being contested by both squads. Cox scored the first six points of the second half to go up 33-32 and Garrison called timeout to relax his squad.
The Rockets built the lead back to five and up to a high of seven on a late Hardin bucket from Morgan Reese. Dalton Prewitt cut the lead to four with a three bomb with just seconds left to make it 42-38 after three quarters of play.
Colby Anglin hit two free throws to put the Rockets up by six to begin the last period. Cox would not go away as they kept matching buckets with Forrest cut the lead to just two points on two foul shots by Jesse Smithson at the 2:02 mark.
Cox had a chance to tie the game with just 1:33 but could not convert. Wheeler scored on a great outlet pass by Anglin to make it 50-46. Williams hit a free throw to make it 50-47. FMS turned the ball over and the Cougars called time-out at 1:07, but missed again and FMS capitalized with a long pass from Anglin to Ray for the lay-up and a 52-47 lead.
The Cougars would not recover and Garrison and the Rockets moved to 1-1 on the season with the 57-50 victory.
Ray led the Rockets with 26 points, Daughrity had 10 with two three's, and Wheeler and Hardin both had a half dozen.
The Rockets and Lady Rockets traveled to Whitthorne yesterday for their re-match from their season opening losses to Columbia school. They take the bus ride to Wartrace tomorrow to open up district play versus rival Cascade.