The Forrest Rockets played a great first half against Van Buren Tuesday but went ice cold in the pivotal third quarter and fell 68-58 to the Eagles, who remain undefeated (16-4, 6-0) in District 9A play.
Van Buren essentially has a two a two-game lead over Eagleville (11-6, 5-1) because of their 65-42 win over the Eagles last Friday. Forrest (7-12, 3-3) and Community (8-7, 3-3) are tied for fourth with identical district records, both one game in back of Cascade (5-9, 4-3) who is a game up in the win column.
Van Buren's Justin Smith was a monster in the post the entire game, scoring 26 points, a feat matched by teammate Darrin Baker.
The Rockets got off to a good start, leading 5-2 on a Devin O'Brien three and then 7-2 on a Colin Henson rebound and put-back. Smith capped off a 6-0 Eagle burst with a bucket in the blocks and Van Buren led 8-7.
Forrest would go on an 8-1 tear, led by four points by Seth Brothers, two free throws by Parker "Ace" Holton, and a late field goal by Kendall Knight to lead 15-9 at the quarter.
See Friday's Tribune for the complete story.