Patton leads Forrest over Irish

Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Alyson Patton (3) loses the Houston County defender before turning to score the go-ahead basket off a Hannah Phifer steal to end the third quarter. Forrest would never trail again after the Patton basket and would go on to roll 56-44 over the Lady Irish. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Forrest senior guard Alyson Patton scored just seven points in the ballgame versus Houston County on day two of the Eagleville Christmas Classic and they could not have come at a better time for the Lady Rockets, who prevailed over the Lady Irish from Erin 56-44.

During a crucial late third quarter offensive by Houston County, Patton scored four points and her three-pointer at the outset of the fourth quarter lit the cool Forrest afterburners, white-hot.

"Alyson is the kind of player that doesn't shoot much, but when she does, I expect it to go in," said Forrest coach Jeremy Jean. "Sometimes she doesn't believe in herself, but she should, because we believe in her."

It was the third straight win for Forrest and three in a row over the Lady Irish, dating back to 2006.

The match-up may have also been a peak into the future Region 5-A Tournament at Community when a sectional berth may be on the line.

"I think this is good," said Patton after the game. "It will help us know what we will be looking for come state time and make us prepared."

Houston County (9-6, 5-0) and McEwen (10-2, 4-0) seem to be the class of District 10-A, while the Lady Rockets (9-5, 3-1) and the top ranked Moore County Raiderettes (14-2, 4-0) lead the way in District 9-A.

More than likely, two of those four teams will get to play in a do or die sectional game on March 5.

Jean said about the Lady Irish, "They are a good team, they are solid, and they will be one of the top two teams in their district. It is good to get a feel for them personnel wise."

Jean added, "It will be interesting to see how it all turns out."

Anna Curtner (5) sets a screen for a Maegen Gower (12) three-pointer in the first quarter.

Forrest suffered through a miserable first half scoring wise, tallying a miniscule 16 points, but still led by one 16-15 thanks to a great defensive effort.

Things looked bleak for the Lady Rockets when Houston County's Leeann Baggett knocked down an early third quarter jumper, giving the Lady Irish their biggest lead of the game at 23-18.

Christina Curtner, who led all scorers in the game with 18 points, hit two free throws and after the Forrest defense forced a five-second call on Houston County, Curtner went downtown for three-points at the other end to tie the game at 23 with 4:53 remaining in the third period.

The lead would see saw back and forth until Hannah Phifer stole the ball and fed Patton for a lay-up with 37.3 ticks left in the quarter, giving the Lady Rockets a 31-29 lead, going into the final eight minutes.

Thirty seconds into the fourth quarter, Patton drained a three-bomb from the corner and the Irish looked shaken from the aerial assault as they turned the ball over.

"After that, I think maybe they realized that we came ready to play. We played with heart in the third quarter and fourth quarter and we had our 'A' game," said Patton.

Megan Miller (15) scores off a set play in the second quarter of the Lady Rockets' 56-44 win over Houston County in day two action at the Eagleville Christmas Classic.

Candace Daughrity converted a short jumper to make it a 36-29 ballgame and a Christina Curtner steal led to two made free throws by the senior quarterback, stretching Forrest's margin to nine points.

Jamie Tolley stopped the bleeding for the Lady Irish with a score, but back-to-back baskets by Megan Miller and Anna Curtner gave Forrest an eleven-point lead at 42-31.

Christina Curtner (21) scores in the lane for the Lady Rockets, who have now won three on a row.

Chelsea Spurgeon made one of two from the free throw line for the girls in green to make it 42-32 before the floodgates opened, sending the final tidal wave of Forrest's offensive push over Houston County.

The Curtner twins would lead the attack, combining for ten out of the next eleven points for Forrest in an 11-5 put away run for the Lady Rockets, who will not play again until January 4, 2011 when they host district foe Cascade in Chapel Hill.

Patton said, "We know that just because we are the Forrest Lady Rockets, we don't just win, we all know that we have to work for every win and continue to practice and play hard to win."

Anna Curtner (5) buries a three-pointer, giving the Lady Rockets a 49-32 fourth quarter lead.

Anna Curtner finished with 10 points for Forrest, Maegen Gower and Miller scored 6 points each, Phifer had 4 points, Jillian Blanchett 3, and Daughrity netted two.