Forrest finds a way to win fifth straight title
The Forrest Lady Rockets had their worst shooting night of the season, but showed the colors of a true champion and a battle tested squad as they gutted out a rough and tumble 49-43 win over Moore County in the District 9-A title game in Chapel Hill Monday night.
The district title was the fifth in a row for No. 2 ranked Forrest (25-4) and victory number fourteen in a row, dating back to Dec. 30, 2009.
Forrest remains undefeated in Class A this season and has not lost to a district opponent in the last twenty-three tries.
Class A Miss Basketball favorite and District 9-A regular season and tournament MVP Beth Hawn shouldered the load once again, scoring a game high 22 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, had 3 blocks, and 1 steal.
Hawn was 9-13 from the free throw line, including a clutch 6-6 performance in the fourth quarter.
"That was probably the worst we played in a very long time, but we pulled it together, got it together and we came out with a win," said Hawn.
Asked about the importance to her of winning Miss Basketball, Hawn said, "I will trade everything to win state and the Gold Ball."
The Chapel Hill hardwood heroines take on East Robertson (9-17) in round number one of the Region 5-A Tournament Friday night at home.
Forty-six fouls were called in the title tilt and the difference in the ballgame came down to which team was going to make their free-throws as the game wore on.
Forrest came out on top from the charity stripe, going 24-35 (69%), while Moore County missed several front ends of one and ones and finished 16-33 (49%).
Uncharacteristically, the Lady Rockets had a miserable night from the three-point line, making just 1 of 14 attempts.
Forrest head coach Jeremy Jean, who won his second consecutive District 9-A Coach of the Year Award said after the game, "They called a lot of fouls and both crowds wanted more fouls. Both teams played very physical, but it came out to where we made enough shots where we could win."
Forrest struggled from the start, missing outside shot after outside shot and the Raiderettes took advantage, leading for much of the first quarter before Hawn put her team in front 9-8, canning a short jumper with 2:31 left in the period.
Moore County would come back to lead 10-9 before Hawn converted in the paint, making it 11-10.
A late basket by Allata Taylor gave Moore County a 12-11 lead at the end of the first eight minutes.
Taylour Allen scored to give the lead back to Forrest at the outset of the second period and Adrean Jordan came off the bench to spark the Lady Rockets once again.
Jordan scored four points after the Allen basket, all from in the paint and at the line on rebounds after missed Forrest shots.
Forrest led 17-12, but the Raiderettes took advantage of the ice-cold Forrest shooting and went on an 8-0 run capped by a long three-bomb by Rachel Garland with four minutes left in the half.
Neither squad scored again until the 2:22 mark when Jordan hit one of two from the line, making it 20-18 in favor of Moore County.
Kelsey Camp was fouled on a three-point attempt, but made just one of three from the line.
Forrest came back the other way and found Hawn open for a three-pointer that she drained, making it a tie game at 21 after the first half.
The Hawn three would be the one and only trey for Forrest in the game, but the shot was huge as Forrest would never trail again in the contest.
"We will learn from the first half if we can," said Jean. "We are not that team that will live and die by the three. We are an inside out team and that is what we did in the second half and we prevailed and came away with the win."
Seventeen fouls were whistled in the rough third period with biggest lead by either squad being four points late by Forrest.
The Raiderettes hurt themselves in the period, missing the front end of a one and one three times and on one other occasion, missed two of two from the charity stripe.
The fourth period would begin with the Lady Rockets leading 31-28.
Allen gave Forrest a 34-28 lead on one of two from the line on one possession and after a Randi Toombs steal, Allen scored on a rebound and follow in the lane, before Moore County coach Holly White signaled for a timeout with 6:36 left in the game.
Forrest led 36-31 when Hawn went to the bench with her fourth foul at the 4:00 minute mark.
Garland hit one of two from the free throw, making it 36-32 before she fouled out moments later.
Christina Curtner hit both free throws as a result of the Garland foul, making it 38-32.
White called time again with 3:01 remaining, but the Raiderettes gave the ball back to Forrest on a missed shot after the stoppage.
Megan Miller swelled the Lady Rocket lead to 40-32 with two big free throws with 2:53 left.
Hawn re-entered the game with 1:57 left and hit 4 of 4 from the free throw line in the last two minutes.
Moore County would try to extend the ballgame with fouls, but the Lady Rockets were up to the task, hitting 11 of 16 from the line in the last two and half minutes, escaping with the hard fought six-point victory.