(Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca)
"We didn't come to play," said Forrest head coach Jeremy Jean. "If it wasn't for Christina (Curtner) in the first half, we wouldn't have been in the game at all."
Forrest (6-5) had a chance versus the unbeaten Lady Cats (11-0), trailing by two points 15-13 at the end of the first quarter and down by one very early in the second period before the home squad pounced on the visitors and eventually pulled away to the easy win.
The Lady Rockets had beaten Wayne County the last two years in the Christmas gala and are now 2-2 since travelling to Waynesboro for the holiday tournament that began in 2007.
Forrest still holds an overall 4-3 advantage over the Lady Cats since 2006 and each squad have dealt the other season ending defeats at the Class A State Tournament in Murfreesboro with Forrest winning in the 2008-2009 season and Wayne County in 2007-2008.
Wayne County wasted no time Monday night in taking control, jumping on Forrest from the tip, scoring eleven out of thirteen points in the paint area to seize a 13-2 lead.
Forrest came back, thanks to a great effort by Christina Curtner, who stole the ball twice and scored eight straight points to cut the Lady Cat lead to 13-10 with 26.5 seconds remaining in the opening period.
Lady Wildcat senior Carly Daniel, who will join her sister Tristan at Belmont next year, scored after a Wayne County timeout to make it a 16-10 ballgame before Forrest sophomore Hannah Phifer drained a three-pointer as time expired.
At the 6:20 mark of the second quarter, Christina Curtner cut the lead to one point at 16-15 off a pretty pass in the lane from Meagen Gower.
Union University signee Kelsey Risner went off for Wayne County after the Forrest surge as she scored seven points in the quarter, including a deep three ball that stretched the Lady Cats' lead to 26-18.
By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, Forrest trailed 29-18.
Forrest tried to battle back and cut the lead to seven at 31-24 late in the third period on a basket by Christina Curtner, but Wayne County bucked back with six straight points to end the quarter and led 37-24, going into the final eight minutes of play.
Jean said, "In the second half, we got open shots and could not knock them down. We are not shooting the ball to make it. We are shooting the ball because we don't want it in our hands. That is a problem we have to fix."
The Lady Rockets would never get close the rest of the contest as the Lady Wildcats ran off and hid in the twenty-three point win.
Carly Daniel led all scorers with 17 points, Risner finished with 14, Samantha Bell chipped in with 8 points for the Lady Cats, Liz Daniel and Mary Milam scored 4 points apiece, Taylor Ann Skelton netted 3, and Hayley Inman, Stacy Creecy, and Tori Reed all scored 2 points.
"Daughrity came in scored in the post tonight and that is a positive," said Jean. "Besides that, I don't see any more positives."
Forrest takes on Collinwood (5-5) today at 3:00 p.m., while Wayne County will try to keep their unbeaten record intact as they take on Jackson Northside (10-1) at 6:00 p.m.