Underdog Rockets rout Cascade in final
The red-hot Forrest Rockets left no doubt about who is number one in District 9-A, upsetting top seed Eagleville on Saturday and then hammering their arch rival and number two seed Cascade 52-32 Tuesday night in front of a standing room only crowd in Chapel Hill.
The tournament title was the first for the Rockets since 2004 and also completed the sweep of both the boys and girls district tournament titles for the first time since 1995.
"This is special," said Forrest head coach Davy McClaran. "I was an assistant on both ninety-five teams and that just doesn't happen very often."
Forrest (12-17) stays home on Saturday, earning the 9-A No. 1 seed in the Region 5-A Tournament and will match-up with District 10-A No. 4 seed White House-Heritage (11-12) at 7:00 p.m.
McClaran said, "It was a lot of hard work and coming together and peaking at the right time. I don't want to over celebrate, but enjoy the night. We want to get back to work because like I have said before, I feel like we are not finished. No matter what happens Saturday night they are winners and they are warriors. I wouldn't trade them for anybody."
The rout over Cascade was the second in succession for Forrest, who beat the Champions by forty points (64-24) on Jan.28.
The Rockets' tank was overflowing on crowd jet fuel to begin the contest and freshman Mark Pope used the high-octane first, scoring the first two buckets of the ballgame on driving scores to the hoop for a 4-0 Rocket lead.
Cascade re-grouped after the opening barrage, outscoring the home squad 11-5 the rest of the first quarter and led 11-9 after the first eight minutes.
Tournament MVP Kyle Gugger tied the game at 11 on the first touch of the second period, but once again Cascade went ahead on a Happy Johnson bucket.
Gugger drained a trey at the other end and Pope scored after a Champ missed shot, making it 16-13 Rockets.
Two possessions later, Forrest guard Colby Anglin drove the lane, faking a pass to the corner before going up and under for a bucket and an 18-13 FHS lead.
A single free throw by Christian Edmondson made it a four-point spread before Corey Bishop went downtown for three-points, stretching the Forrest lead to seven points at 21-14.
The half ended with Forrest leading 21-16.
The Rockets came out of the halftime break smoking hot with Bishop scoring on a nice backdoor play.
Pope stole the ball from Cascade and senior Rocket Parker Holton scored on a rebound and put-back, making it 25-16.
The Champions missed again and Gugger hit a turn around jumper, extending Forrest's lead to 27-16.
Cascade coach Charlie Pope called timeout with 6:56 left, trying desperately to stop Forrest's momentum.
Pope's crew would cut the Forrest lead to 30-21 with just under three minutes to play in the quarter when disaster struck his squad in the form of back-to-back long-range treys by Pope and Dane Leonard.
The bombs sent the Forrest crowd off the planet as the Rockets led 36-21.
Cascade scored just once more before the third period ended and trailed 36-23, entering the final eight minutes of play.
Matt Henderson scored the initial basket of the fourth quarter, but Forrest answered with a rebound and put-back by Gugger.
Gugger blocked a shot at the other end and Pope put the early nail in the Champ's coffin with another three-bomb, giving the Rockets their biggest lead of the game at 41-25.
Cascade would never mount another serious comeback as the Rockets finished them off from the free-throw line, going 6 for 9 at the charity stripe the rest of the way in the title clinching twenty-point win.
Forrest had a balanced scoring attack with Gugger, Pope, and Bishop all scoring 13 points.
Holton scored 5, Leonard and Taylor Gentry had 3 points each, and Anglin finished with the one early basket.
Holton said after the contest, "This is real special. Our game plan works well against Cascade. We just got the ball out, got the rebound and we were gone. We were getting it up the floor and trying to get lay-ups. We couldn't let them get second chance shots and that is what we did tonight. We held them to one shot and it worked out for us."
There were no Cascade players in double figures in the ballgame.
The Champions will host East Robertson in the first round of the Region Tournament.
Eagleville travels to McEwen and Community buses to 10-A No. 1 seed and Class A top-ranked Clarksville Academy.