For the second year in a row, the Forrest Rockets traveled to the Wayne County Christmas Classic and knocked off a highly ranked Collinwood Trojan squad. Last year they needed overtime to do it.
Saturday night, they did it in regulation, but just barely, escaping with a 48-46 to snap a four game losing streak.
Forrest coach Davy McClaran was not happy with they way his team finished Friday night at Community, but he was smiling from ear to ear in Waynesboro after the win and said, "We dug in tonight and played mentally tough. I am very proud of the way they responded in the game. This is a great Christmas present."
McClaran switched up the starting lineup versus the Trojans and he said, "I changed up the lineup tonight to get some people fired up and I think it worked. That was a quality opponent we beat tonight."
Parker Holton scored in the paint to open the contest and Corey Bishop made it 4-0 on a steal and score, forcing an early Collinwood timeout.
Collinwood came out of the timeout, scoring six straight points before Holton made it a one-point ballgame with one of two from the line.
The Trojans went out in front 10-5, but Ferris Perkins scored for Forrest down low to make it 10-7.
Tyler Thompson scored for Collinwood, but Kyle Gugger matched the bucket for Forrest. Thompson scored again to make it 14-9 before Bishop drained a three-bomb from the left corner to make it a 14-12 game at the end of the first quarter.
Tanner Andrews hit two foul shots for the Trojans to begin the second period before Preston Pratt threw down a three-pointer to cut the lead to one.
The game moved on and Collinwood led 20-18 when the Rockets made a move. Perkins scored in the post to tie the game and Parker Holton matched the down low muscle, giving the Rockets a 22-20 lead.
After a Collinwood timeout with 1:43 left in the half, Forrest grabbed a Trojan miss and fed Perkins in the post where he was fouled. Perkins hit both foul attempts to give the Rockets a 24-20 lead.
Dakota Smith scored on a three-point play in the paint to cut the lead to one at 24-23, but Perkins came up big again, getting fouled and going to line for two more successful free throw shots for a 26-23 Rocket lead. Collinwood missed from close range to end the quarter, giving the Rockets a three-point lead at the half.
Collinwood was not happy and came out of the locker room, going on a 10-1 run to open up a 33-27 lead.
Seth Brothers broke the third period field goal drought for Forrest to make it 33-29.
The Trojans managed to maintain the lead throughout the period, holding 41-36 lead, going into the fourth quarter.
Brothers scored first in the fourth quarter, but Collinwood matched the bucket moments later.
Two possessions later, Perkins stole the rock and raced in for a sky-high lay-in over Thompson to cut the lead to 43-40.
Collinwood missed, sending the Rockets back down court where Gugger scored on a nice rebound and put-back to make it 43-42.
The Trojans went to the line with just over two minutes to play, but missed both attempts.
McClaran called a play from the bench and Pratt answered, big time, draining a rainbow three to give Forrest a 45-43 lead with 2:41 to play, forcing a Trojan timeout.
Collinwood was unsuccessful on the play, but Tanner West came up with a steal from Forrest, racing in for an uncontested lay-up. The ball spun out to Brothers, who was fouled.
Brothers hit one of two from the line to make it 46-43 and Collinwood missed on the other end.
Gugger was fouled on the ensuing possession; stepping up to the line and calmly nailing both shots for a 48-43 FHS lead with 1:08 remaining.
Thompson hit one of two from the free throw line with 42. 3 left and after a Forrest turnover, Thompson scored down low to cut the lead to just two points at 48-46.
Collinwood called timeout and fouled the Rockets with 18.4 seconds left. Neither foul shot would go down, giving the ball back to the Trojans.
Forrest had a foul to give and took it with 10.6 seconds left. Collinwood in-bounded the ball, setting up a play for Thompson, who missed and the ball bounded away as the clocked ticked to zero.
Perkins led the Rockets with 12 points and McClaran was in high praise of the junior after the game, saying, "Ferris Perkins came back tonight, playing a great game versus the Collinwood big man."
Gugger scored 11 for Forrest, Pratt had 8, Holton and Brothers each scored 6, and Bishop tallied 5 in his first start of the year.