Rockets claim bragging rights

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

For the second year in a row, bragging rights remain north of the Duck River as the Forrest Rockets used a big second half surge and 26 points from senior Nick Schnapp to defeat the Cornersville Bulldogs 66-50 in the final game of the Eagleville Christmas Classic on Friday night.

Forrest was coached by Robby Reasonover. Davy McClaran was absent welcoming a new addition to his family on Thursday.

"I think playing Cornersville really woke them up after last night's loss to Jo Byrns," Reasonover said after the game. "We got a lot of senior leadership tonight from Nick Schnapp, Devin O'Brien and Buck Bennett. They all just got it done."

Cornersville drew first blood in the contest after Tyler Cole scored in the post. But Bennett matched the goal with one of his own for a 2-2 tie. Cole scored again for a 4-2 Cornersville lead and then the Rockets went on a 13-2 run to lead 15-6 before the Bulldogs came back to trail by only seven at quarter's end, 16-9.

The second period belonged to the Dawgs. They scrapped their way back into the game with some tough defense that forced the Rockets into a bunch of turnovers. With 3:19 remaining in the quarter, Garrett Stiles knotted the game with two free throws. Steven Nelms put the Dawgs on top 23-21 with a pull-up jumper.

On the Rocket's next possession, Stiles swiped the ball and raced in for a lay-up and was fouled. He converted the three-point play and the Bulldogs led 26-21. A Schnapp bucket made the score 26-23 going into the halftime intermission.

The third quarter started off as a see-saw battle with Cornersville maintaining the three-point margin until O'Brien nailed a three-pointer to tie the game at 28 apiece. The Bulldogs would surge ahead by three again on a Cole bucket and a Chuck Bassham free throw, but the Rockets responded by scoring 10 in row to lead 38-31.

Freshman Josh "Boochie" Pope scored a lay-up to stop the surge, but O'Brien scored just before the buzzer to make it 40-33, in favor of the Rockets with eight minutes left.

Schnapp made another statement to begin the last quarter as he scored the first four points to give Forrest a 44-33 lead. Cole scored in the low post to make it 44-35, but that would be the last time the Bulldogs would be within single digits the rest of the contest.

The Rockets did a good job of handling the press, controlling the ball and making some clutch free throws down the stretch to secure win.

Schnapp led all scorers with 26 points, Bennett had 13, Seth Brothers pitched in with five, Parker Holton had four, O'Brien and Kendall Knight each had three, and Kyle Anglin had a bucket.

Cornersville was led by Stiles who netted 13, Cole had a 12, Nelms a half dozen, Bassham and Josh Rich each had three, Pope and Jimmy Civils scored a deuce, and Joseph Darnell had a single marker.

The Rockets have now won four out of their last six to move to 5-10 on the season. They have a nine-day lay-off before they return to action for a big district match-up versus MTCS in Murfreesboro on Jan. 8.

Cornersville, 5-11, returns to the hard court at home on Jan. 4 versus district foe Richland.

Cut-Lines (Photos by Anthony S. Puca)

Parker Holton secures a rebound for the Rockets.

Nick Schnapp cuts the Bulldog defense for two of his game high 26 points.

Seth Brothers gets fouled underneath in the Rockets 58-44 win over Cornersville.

Garrett Stiles and Chuck Bassham go after a loose ball as the Bulldogs scrapped and clawed all night.