Forrest notches win number ten over Collinwood
Since the 2001-2002 season the Forrest Rockets have a 53-55 record up to the Christmas break, but with Tuesday's hard fought 54-51 win over Collinwood at the Waynesboro Christmas Classic, the Rockets improved to 10-2 on the season, marking the only time during that ten-year period where they can open up Santa's presents with double digit wins stuffed in their holiday stockings.
The only other years that the Rockets have gone into the holiday break above .500 were in 2003-2004 when they started 9-0 and in 2002-2003 when they posted a 5-2 mark.
Last season, Forrest opened up the campaign with a 4-8 record, but got hot late to win the District 9A Tournament, their first tournament title since the 2003-004 season.
The Rockets are 4-1 versus Collinwood since 2007 and are unblemished versus the Trojans at the Wayne County Christmas Tournament.
Tuesday's game was a battle, going down to the wire before being decided at the free throw line by Forrest, who shot 7-11 in the fourth quarter and 10-15 overall from the charity stripe.
Forrest fizzled off the launch pad as they fell behind 8-0 before righting the ship with a 15-2 run to end the first quarter.
Kyle Gugger and Zach Ray started the offensive with buckets in the paint before Justin McCord sprung off the bench to drain a three-pointer and then stole the ball and scored on short jumper in the lane to give the Rockets their first lead at 9-8 with 2:53 left to play in period number one.
Collinwood's Logan Montgomery, who led all scorers in the ballgame with 25 points scored to re-take the lead at 10-9.
Two made free throws apiece by Gugger and Dane Leonard and a late steal and score by Colby Anglin gave Forrest the five-point lead at quarter's end.
Forrest senior Corey Bishop had the hot hand in the second quarter, scoring eight points as the Rockets pulled away to lead 28-17 at the halftime break.
The Trojans fought back in the third quarter, chipping away at the Forrest lead until a Jacob Daniel basket with less than 40 seconds to play sliced the Rocket lead to five points at 37-32.
As time expired in the period, a clutch Bishop three-bomb fended off the late Collinwood charge, re-extending Forrest's lead to eight points.
Montgomery led a charge at the outset of the final period, scoring nine points to one bucket by Leonard and the Trojans trailed by a single point at 42-41 with 4:40 remaining in the ballgame.
A Forrest miscue gave the ball back to Collinwood and a chance to take a lead, but Ray came up with a big steal that led to a Gugger bucket at the other end for a 44-41 Rocket lead.
The Trojans turned the ball over and Bishop made them pay for their error when he drilled a trey from the corner, extending the lead to seven.
Once again, Collinwood came back, slicing the Forrest lead to one point at 50-49 on a three-pointer by Hunter Crews with 39.8 seconds remaining in the contest.
After the Crews trey, they elected to foul Bishop on the inbounds play and he sank one of two, making it 51-49.
Collinwood had a big miscue after the Bishop free throw and had to foul Pope, who hit both free throws before Collinwood called timeout.
Montgomery scored on a set play out of the stoppage for Collinwood and the Trojans called timeout again with 26.4 seconds left, trailing 53-51.
Again, they elected to foul Bishop and once again, he made one of two, extending FHS's lead to 54-51.
The Trojans tried for a game tying three-pointer, but missed and had to foul McCord on the rebound.
McCord missed both free throw attempts, but redeemed himself in a big way when he stole the ball from the Trojans and time ran out.
Bishop led the Forrest scoring attack with 16 points, Pope had 14, Gugger and Ray scored 6 points apiece, McCord ended up with 5, Leonard 4, and Taylor Gentry netted a single marker.
Crews was second in scoring for Collinwood behind Montgomery's 26 points with 14, Ethan Butler netted 8, and Daniel and Zach Evans scored 2 points each.
Forrest (10-2, 3-1) will try to keep their winning streak going with games versus Lancaster Christian and Gordonsville (3-10) Monday and Tuesday at the Eagleville Christmas Classic.
Both games start at 12:30 p.m. and will precede the Forrest girls' games.