The Forrest Lady Rockets showed no signs of rust in their first game of the District 9A Tournament, pummeling the Van Buren Lady Eagles 74-40 Monday night in Eagleville.
Forrest (24-3) used an inside outside offensive scoring attack and their patented man-to-man pressing defense in the coast-to-coast victory, sending them into the championship game versus Middle Tennessee Christian (24-6) Thursday night.
Thea Ledbetter led a lethal deep game for the Lady Rockets, scoring 15 points including two of Forrest's 9 treys in the game.
"It may have seemed like an easy game, but none of them are easy," said Ledbetter after the contest. "When you come out and play hard it may turn into an easy game and that is what happened tonight."
Forrest went right after the Lady Eagles from the start with Beth Hawn getting the Lady Rockets going with a three-pointer from the corner for 3-0 lead.
After a Van Buren turnover, Ledbetter stepped in for a medium range jumper, giving FHS a 5-0 margin, and forcing Van Buren to call timeout with 6:44 gone.
The Lady Eagles did themselves no favors, turning the ball over out of the timeout and Ledbetter made them pay, nailing a long range trey to stretch the Forrest lead to 7-0.
Van Buren finally got on the board via a three from Cierston Simmons, cutting the margin to four points.
Two possessions later, Forrest's Bequi Bussell threaded the needle on an inbounds play under the basket to Ledbetter for a 9-3 lead.
Ledbetter went downtown once again moments later for a 12-3 Forrest lead and the Lady Eagles were reeling. The Lady Rockets would lead 18-9 by the end of the first eight minutes and Van Buren looked tired.
Jaletta Grissom's three-pointer for Van Buren got the Lady Eagles to within seven at 22-15 early in the second before the Lady Rockets re-established momentum on two free throws by Taylour Allen and a rebound and put-back by Megan Porter, building the Forrest lead to 26-15.
Grissom hit one of two from line before the Lady Rockets went off, out scoring Van Buren 11-3 the rest of the half with most of the damage coming from Allen, who scored 8 points in the quarter, helping Forrest gain a big 37-18 lead by halftime.
Van Buren came out of the halftime break intent on stopping the barrage of Forrest three-pointers and paid the price as Hawn and Summer Waggoner found some free space in the blocks, building the Lady Rocket lead to 43-24.
The Lady Eagles did not know which way to turn as they got burned from behind the arc again by Allen and Bussell deep on threes and by Hawn and Waggoner in close and were left helpless and worn out, trailing 53-30 after three quarters.
If that was not enough, Forrest added insult to injury when Christina Curtner, Amanda Daughrity, Ledbetter, and Randi Tombs all drained three-pointers in the fourth quarter as FHS head coach Jeremy Jean ran players in and out to seal the deal for the Chapel Hill ladies in the thirty-four point victory.
"That was the best shooting night we have had in while," said Jean after the contest. "They are starting to get that confidence back again in themselves and I have told them. If I did not have confidence in your shooting, you would not be in there."
Ledbetter led the Lady Rockets, scoring 15 points, Hawn and Allen finished with 13 points apiece, Porter scored 10, Bussell and Waggoner each netted 6, Daughrity, Tombs, and Curtner all had a trey, and Adrean Jordan scored 2.