Rockets get big win in Waynesboro
The Forrest Rockets like coming to Waynesboro for the Annual Christmas Tournament and it shows as they won for the second consecutive year over the Wildcats and three out of the fives times they have made the long trek.
On Monday, the Rockets took a hard earned 65-60 win, holding off a huge fourth quarter comeback attempt by Wayne County after Forrest had led by as much as 18 points midway through the third period.
"It's like a shrine in here," said Forrest's Zach Horvath before the game. "We love coming to Waynesboro and are used to shooting in here because we come down for summer camp every year."
Horvath's words were true as he ended up with 10 points in the game, Mark Pope had another great game with 18 points (three treys), Marshall Hunter scored 14 (three treys), Zach Ray finished with seven, Tyler Rumley netted six, Jacob Daughrity (one trey) and Lucas Pruitt scored four points each, and Colby Anglin, playing in his first game since returning from an ankle injury, scored a deuce.
The Rockets fell behind 6-0 early before eventually tying the game on Daughrity's three-bomb with 3:01 remaining in the first period.
The Wildcats, behind a nice inside, outside attack from a pair of seniors in 6'5" Justin Melson and standout guard Peyton Mathis led a resurgence that upped the Wayne County lead to 15-9.
Pope book-ended a traditional three-point play and a long bomb around a Jaylen Bevis bucket for the Big Cats to cut the Wayne County lead to 17-15, but a Carson Kelly trey made it 20-17 before a Lucas Pruitt bucket in the paint cut the deficit to three points at 20-17 after the first eight minutes.
Forrest would tie the game at 22 on a Pope trey early in the second quarter before two Horvath baskets made it 26-22 Rockets.
Mathis would eventually tie the game at 29 before Forrest would end the first half with a 7-2 run to up their lead to 36-31 at the intermission.
At the outset of the second half, another Pope three-pointer, a Rumley steal and score, followed by a Hunter deep three gaving the Rockets a 44-31 lead and force a Wayne County timeout with 6:17 remaining in the period.
Back-to-back buckets by Austin Rice and Mathis stopped the Forrest surge, but not for long as Horvath scored four straight points to re-open the 13-point margin.
One free throw by Bevis made it a 12-point game before a Pruitt put-back and trey from Pope opened up Forrest's biggest lead of the game at 18 points, 53-35.
The Wildcats clawed their way back in the contest, cutting the Forrest lead to a dozen points at 57-45, entering the final eight minutes of action.
Wayne County caught fire to begin the fourth quarter, scoring the first seven points in the period to slice the Rockets' lead to just three points at 57-54.
Hunter threw some water on the fire with a three-pointer for Forrest (8-5) and that was followed by a Ray steal and score as the Rockets opened up an eight-point lead at 62-54.
Wayne County (7-3), who came into the contest on a four-game winning streak would not mount a final comeback and fell by the five-point margin.
Mathis led all scorers with 22 points, Melson ended up with 18, Rice scored eight, Bevis five, Carson had the one trey, and Keeton Kelly rounded out the scoring with two points for the Wildcats.
Forrest will take on Collinwood Thursday night before going over to the Eagleville Christmas Tournament for games versus Columbia Academy on the 29th and Summit on the 30th.