'Buffalo Betty' slays Clarkrange
Lady Rocket senior standout Beth Hawn, affectionately called Betty by her teammates will be forever known as Buffalo Betty after starring in the leading role of the 2009-2010 Chapel Hill hardwood heroines opening night wild west show.
Hawn, playing to a packed house that included her next head coach from UT Martin, Kevin McMillan poured in a career high 30 points, hauled down 18 rebounds, stole the ball 8 times, swatted away 4 shots, and drew 3 offensive fouls in a huge 60-44 win over the defending Class A State Champion Clarkrange Lady Buffaloes.
For an encore, Hawn also scored her 1,000-point as a Lady Rocket with just over three minutes left in the second quarter in the Hall of Fame extravaganza at Forrest.
The Forrest win snapped Clarkrange's 39-game winning streak and was the first victory in five tries for Lady Rockets over the Fentress County powerhouse, including last season's 56-39 first round state tournament exit loss at the hands of TSSAA Hall of Fame coach Lamar Rogers' squad.
"It was a great win and they are a great team," said Forrest head coach Jeremy Jean after the contest. "We knew coming in that this would be a tough one. The thing we wanted to do was come in with intensity and pressure them and we did."
In the past four meetings between the two schools it was the Lady Buffaloes who came out as the aggressors early, but this time it was the ladies in white and blue who sent an early message that this time, things would be different.
Jean knew that getting off to a quick start, even it meant just staying close would be a key component to a Lady Rocket win.
Forrest scored first on a Christina Curtner lay-in off a beautiful bounce pass in the lane by Megan Miller.
Last year's state tournament MVP Kelli Reed tied the game at 2 before Taylour Allen buried a three-pointer in front of the FHS student section for a 5-2 lead.
Miller made it 6-2 on one of two from the free throw line before Clarkrange settled in.
Two Hawn free throws gave Forrest a 12-11 lead late in the quarter before Reed scored on a drive in the lane with just a few seconds left, giving the Lady Buffaloes a 13-12 lead after one quarter.
Clarkrange kept their precarious lead until midway through the second quarter when Allen tied the game at 20 from the free throw line.
After a Clarkrange miss, Anna Curtner nailed a jumper, giving Forrest a 22-20 lead.
The Lady Rockets would never trail again.
With 3:37 to go in the half, Hawn took a pass from Allen in the blocks and rose up for a jumper that was true, securing her 1,000-career point.
With the score 26-22 Clarkrange had the ball in the post, but Hawn stood firm, drawing a charge that seemed to fire up her and the rest of the Lady Rockets even more.
Anna Curtner buried a long three-bomb at the other end, opening up a seven-point lead for Forrest.
The half would end with a confident Forrest squad still leading by five points at 31-26.
Clarkrange cut the lead to a single point midway through the third period before Hawn sparked the Lady Rockets again.
And again it was on the defensive end, stealing and scoring on one possession and stepping in for another charge on the Lady Buffaloes next touch.
With 52.9 seconds left in the quarter, Hawn stole the rock and raced the other way for a lay-up, giving FHS a 39-34 lead.
On Clarkrange's next possession, Forrest's Randi Toombs raced to the corner, getting a hand on a Clarkrange three-point attempt.
The Lady Rockets got the ball and set up a play for Christina Curtner, who buried a three-pointer, swelling the Forrest lead to 42-34 after three quarters.
In the fourth period, the much awaited Clarkrange comeback never materialized as Hawn sealed the deal, scoring 14 of the Lady Rockets' 16 points in the quarter, including a 4-4 trip to the foul line after Rogers was whistled for a delay of game for not getting his troops on the floor in time after a timeout.
As time ran out, the Forrest faithful went nuts, but Jean was clam and humble, knowing another meeting with the Lady Buffaloes in Murfreesboro was probably in the cards.
Jean said, "I told the kids all week long that the next game was always the most important one. We played a great team tonight and got a great win early in the season. Now we will focus on Tullahoma."
Christina Curtner finished with 12 points and her twin sister Anna had 10 points. Allen totaled 4 points and Miller and Toombs scored two points each.
Reed led the Lady Buffaloes with 12 points, Carly Dickens had 11, Molly Heady was held to just 10, Tara Donhauser scored 6, and Suzie Cooper ended up with 5.
The Lady Rockets will be back in action for another Hall of Fame game in Tullahoma Friday night before returning home to host the Forrest Thanksgiving Classic next week.