No one is really sure when the last time the Forrest Middle School boys captured the World Tournament in Chapel Hill, giving way to realizing that it as been quite a while if memories have faded that long.
The Rockets came into the forty-sixth edition of the World Tournament as the favorites and lived up to billing, sweeping Liberty, MTCS, and Cascade in order by an average score of 18 points to win the title.
Robby Reasonover, in his first year as head coach at FMS had that championship smile on his face again and said after the game, "It always feels good when you have a middle school team or a high school that's comes out and works so hard day in and day out to be rewarded. It is very satisfactory."
The Rockets opened the tournament Wednesday night, facing Liberty, a team they had easily handled twice before in the season. Forrest was ready, smothering the Patriots defensively to feed their run and gun style all the way to a big 14-2 first quarter lead.
Dakota Zimmerman opened the scoring for the Rockets and Brooks Lamb scored off of a Zimmerman steal to make it 4-0.
Liberty scored on two free throws and then the Forrest defense picked up, providing Zach Horvath an open path to get free on an end to end score and one possession later, Mark Pope had a swipe and score to make it 8-2.
Horvath scored four of the last six in the period for the 12-point lead after one.
Lamb scored in the paint to open up the second period, but the Patriots tried to dig in, scoring five straight points to make it 16-7. Zimmerman and Lamb both had buckets before Liberty scored again and Forrest would go to the locker room, leading 21-9 at the half.
Liberty scored to open the second half, but Forrest's Jacob Daughrity answered the call, burying a three-pointer from downtown. Bird Nelson flew in a three for the Patriots, but Zimmerman responded with a condor of his own to keep the Rockets well in front at 29-14.
The Patriots would not go away, scoring four straight to make it 29-18 and had the ball with chance to cut the deficit to single digits.
Pope picked the Pats pocket and raced in for lay-up and Lamb got one of two from the line, extending the lead back to fourteen at 32-18. Zach Jones scored for Liberty before Pope's put-back at the buzzer made it a 34-20 ballgame, going into the final period.
The Rockets held firm, outscoring the Pats 13-7 in the final six minutes to win 47-27 to advance to the second round versus MTCS.
Rockets cage Cougars
On Friday afternoon, the Rockets took the court in a second round match-up versus the Middle Tennessee Christian School Cougars.
The Rockets had beaten the Cougars on November 20 and were ready for the challenge, but so was the Murfreesboro private school.
Horvath scored to open the contest before MTCS got out in front, 5-4.
Zimmerman bombed in a three-pointer, followed by a tough lamb put-back in the paint to make it 9-5, Rockets.
Devin Epps nailed a three for the Cougars to keep it close at 9-8, before Forrest ran off six straight on a bucket by Tyler Rumley, a steal and score by Horvath, and a breakaway basket by Pope to make it 15-8 FM after one period.
Horvath scored to begin the second six minutes and several minutes later, MTCS scored on a three-pointer by Chase Smotherman to make it 19-11.
Horvath scored once more and Smotherman hit another bomb to make it 21-14. Pope again ended another quarter with a steal and score for a 23-14 Forrest halftime lead.
There was no scoring on the first seven combined possessions in the fourth quarter before Derrick Spears knocked down a jumper to make it 23-16.
Forrest's Lucas Pruitt scored over Smotherman in the paint to make it 25-16 and Rumley knocked home a jumper to push the Rocket lead back to 27-16.
Daughrity came up huge on the next FMS touch, burying a three-bomb from up top to make it 30-16. A Smotherman three kept the Cougars in the contest, trailing 30-18 after three quarters.
The Rockets trapped the Cougars for good, beginning the fourth quarter with an early TKO punch. Pope nailed a three-bomb to start the run, Lamb scored down low after a Cougar turnover, Horvath hit a turnaround "J" and Pope stuck the dagger deep into the heart, draining a long three from the arc to open up a 40-18 lead.
There was no time for a Cougar comeback, setting up the World Tournament championship game with Forrest taking on a tough Cascade team that had knocked off Eagleville and Community to reach the title tilt.
Rockets blast Champs to sit atop the World
The Rockets came into the championship game versus Cascade, sporting a 14-1 record, having beaten the Champions twice before over the past two months.
Forrest won the tip and Horvath scored on a rebound and put-back for a two-zip lead.
Lamb stole the rock on the next Cascade touch and found Pope in the open who went to the hoop and was fouled. Pope hit both free throws for a 4-0 lead.
After a Cascade miss Horvath rebounded the ball and fed Lamb over the top for another fast break bucket and a 6-0 lead.
Another Lamb bucket off of a Cascade miss made it 8-0, forcing a Champ timeout with 3:56 left in the first quarter.
Cascade's Hunter Siebers scored out of the cascade timeout to finally get the Champs on the board at the 3:38 mark.
Rumley nailed a trey on Forrest's next touch and after a Cascade missed scoring opportunity, Zimmerman rained in a long bomb to make it 14-2 in favor of the Rockets.
The quarter ended with the Rockets holding a 17-6 lead.
Pope scored the first four points off of a great defensive effort by the Rockets to open the second quarter before Cascade scored to make it 21-6.
Daughrity went downtown for the first of his three long bombs in the contest, opening up an eighteen point FMS lead before Cascade scored the last five points in the first half to trail by thirteen at 24-11 with just one half left for the crown.
Lamb scored a free throw after the half to make it 25-11. Cascade scored a basket, which would end up being their only bucket in the quarter. Daughrity got his last second trey of the ballgame for the last score in the quarter and FMS led 28-13, leaving just six minutes left in the title game.
Horvath hit one of two from the free throw line on the Rockets' first possession of the fourth quarter. After a few unsuccessful possessions by both squads, Reasonover called timeout with 4:22 left in the game.
Horvath scored on a set play after the stoppage, followed by the game deciding three-pointer by Daughrity that took the air of Cascade's balloon.
The Rockets cruised home to the title from there, ending the World winless drought.
Horvath scored 29 points in the tournament, Pope and Lamb each totaled 25, Daughrity scored all 15 of his points on three-pointers, Zimmerman also had 15 in the tournament with three 3's, Rumley had 7 points, Caleb Keller had three points on a trey versus Liberty, and Lucas Pruitt had one bucket.