Overtime win sends FMS Rockets to title game
The FMS Forrest Rockets have one game left to play on the season and it will be for the Duck River Valley Conference title Saturday after they survived a 32-30 semifinal overtime win over Westwood, Manchester Thursday night in Chapel Hill.
"This is why this conference was formed, so that these young athletes can get a taste of what it is like to be in a championship run," said FMS head coach Davy McClaran.
The contest was nip and tuck for the full twenty-seven minutes as neither team held more than a six-point lead the entire game.
Forrest's six-point lead came at the outset of the game when they scored the first three baskets.
Blake Leonard lit the scoreboard first with a bucket down low with 3:50 remaining in the first period, and moments later a Colton Cook steal led to a Will Edmonson basket making it 4-0.
Cook would score with 2:23 left to open up the half dozen-point margin for FMS before Westwood finally got on the scoreboard via a Sam Brown bucket with 25 seconds left in the period.
Westwood stormed back to tie the game at eight on a Cole Hawkins basket, forcing a McClaran timeout with 3:45 remaining n the first half.
Forrest's Tanner Garvin scored on a set play after the stoppage, making it 10-8, but the Rockets from Manchester scored the last six points of the quarter to take a 14-10 lead into the intermission.
Hawkins scored on the first touch of the second half for Westwood, giving his squad their only six-point lead of the evening at 16-10.
Now it was the hometown Rockets' turn for the comeback as they reeled off ten straight to end the third quarter with a 20-16 lead.
Edmonson netted five points in the period, Garvin scored on a backdoor play, and Cook threw in a long three-point bomb near mid-court as the buzzer sounded, ending three quarters of play.
Westwood would not let go, exemplified by a three-pointer by Peyton Talley on their first possession of the fourth quarter.
With 4:01 left, Hawkins tied the game at twenty-one and after an FMS turnover; Hawkins gave his squad a 23-21 lead on another basket.
Westwood went on to increase their lead to 27-24 and had the ball with 1:59 left when they called timeout.
Alex Brewer gave the FMS Rockets new life when he swiped the ball after the stoppage and fed Leonard for a score.
Another Westwood miscue led to another Leonard bucket in the paint, giving FMS a 28-27 lead with 1:08 remaining in regulation.
A Westwood missed shot and a foul on the rebound sent Cook to the free throw line where he made one out of two for a 29-27 FMS lead.
Cook went back to the free throw line after another Westwood missed shot and hit one out of two again to stretch the Forrest lead to 30-27 with 34.5 seconds remaining in the game.
The home team did the one thing they could not afford to do as they fouled Hawkins on a made basket.
After a Westwood timeout, Hawkins drained the free throw to tie the game.
At the other end, Hawkins blocked a Forrest shot out of bounds and McClaran called timeout with 1.5 seconds left.
The Rockets got a good look at the basket, but a Leonard shot spun off the rim as time expired, sending the game to overtime.
For the first two minutes and fifteen seconds of the three minute overtime period, neither team could find the bottom of the net.
Cook went to the free throw line after he was fouled with .45 seconds left and hit one of two for a 31-30 FMS lead.
Hawkins missed the front end of a one and one at the other end, but a Forrest miscue with 27 seconds left gave the ball back to Westwood, who called timeout.
A set play went to Hawkins in the post and his shot spun out after going halfway down.
The Rockets called timeout with 9.2 seconds left and Edmonson was fouled after the stoppage with six seconds remaining in the overtime period.
Edmonson missed the first attempt, but nailed the second, giving FMS a 32-30 lead.
Westwood got the ball in and raced up court, but a wild pass went out of bounds and the game ended with Forrest earning a shot at the title.
McClaran said, "It doesn't matter how you win at this time, all you have to do is survive and I am very proud of these guys. They are very coachable and now we have one game left right where we want to be."
Hawkins led all scorers with 17 points.
Leonard led the FMS Rockets with nine points and hauled down nine rebounds, Cook scored 8 points, including a 3-5 performance from the free throw line, Edmonson also netted eight points and went 4-5 from the charity stripe, Garvin scored six and had five rebounds, and Caleb Hogan was 1-2 from the free throw line.
Forrest will play archrival Cascade, who defeated Liberty in the other semifinal for the World Tournament (DRVC) title at 6:45 Saturday night.
DRVC Tournament Scores
Monday Dec. 6th
MTCS girls over Westwood 47 - 0
Liberty girls over Eagleville 40 - 19
Forrest boys over Moore Co. 31 - 16
Liberty boys over Eagleville 24 - 19
Wed. Dec 8th
Cascade 31 Moore Co. 15
Community 33 Forrest 18
Westwood 33 Community 26
Cascade 33 MTCS 27
Thursday Dec. 9
MTCS 57 Cascade 35 girls
Forrest 32 Westwood 30 OT boys
Community 24 Liberty 23 girls
Cascade 30 Liberty 27 boys
Saturday Dec. 11
Girls consolation Cascade vs. Liberty 3:00
Boys consolation Westwood vs. Liberty 4:15
Girls championship MTCS vs. Community 5:30
Boys championship Forrest vs. Cascade 6:45