The Forrest Rockets were hoping to pick up some ground in the District 9-A race versus Cascade Friday night in Chapel Hill, but the Champions had other ideas, winning the game 53-41 to keep a slim hold of first place by one game over Eagleville.
Forrest has had problems finishing games this season and they held to form, being outscored by Cascade 26-10 in the pivotal fourth quarter.
The Rockets (8-13, 4-5) are in fifth place in the district, one game back of MTCS (11-12, 5-4). The two teams meet Friday night in Murfreesboro and a win by Forrest would go a long way for an opportunity to host a first round district tournament game. In the first meeting between the schools this season, Forrest came away with a 44-40 victory.
The first quarter was a low scoring, back and forth affair that ended in an 8-8 tie.
Two free throws by Taylor Gentry gave the Rockets a 12-10 lead and after a Cascade turnover, Kyle Anglin hit one of two from the line for a three point Forrest lead.
A running one-hander by Gerald "Happy" Johnson cut the lead back to one point until Kyle Griffy nailed a short jumper to make it a three-point game once again.
Forrest had a chance to stretch the lead late in the quarter, but went 1-5 from the free throw line. Some solid defense held Cascade in check and Forrest led 17-14 after the first half.
The good defense continued and some hot shooting by the Rockets in the third quarter helped the home squad build a seven point lead before Matt Henderson nailed a buzzer-beater for Cascade, making it a 31-27 ballgame after three periods.
Henderson went long distance to begin the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to one point. Parker Holton made two free throws for Forrest to extend the lead back to three, but the red hot Henderson threw in another one from long range to tie the game at 33.
Cascade got the ball back after two missed free throws by Forrest and then the Champions took a 35-33 lead when District 9-A leading scorer Jacob Carkuff hit a jumper from short range.
Preston Pratt answered for Forrest, re-knotting the game at 35 before Cascade scored three straight to lead 38-35.
A single Ferris Perkins free throw cut the deficit to two points, but Cascade pushed ahead at 42-36 with 3:15 left in the game.
After a Forrest timeout, Colin Henson hit one of two from the line to make it a five-point game.
One free throw by Cascade made the score 43-37 and Anglin kept the Rockets alive with a basket in the lane.
On the next series a technical foul was called on Forrest coach Davy McClaran, who argued a questionable foul call.
Christian Edmonson hit one of two from the line on the regular foul call and Carkuff drained both T free throws to extend the Cascade lead to 46-39.
Cascade also got the ball and scored again, making it a nine point ballgame.
The Rockets could not comeback from the nine-point deficit, falling for the second time this season to Cascade.
Kyle Gugger led the Rockets with 9 points, Pratt had 8, Griffy 6, Henson 5, Anglin Seth Brothers, and Perkins all scored 3 points, and Taylor Gentry and Holton each had 2.
Carkuff, averaging 18.2 points per game was held to 14 by Forrest.