Lady Rockets survive slow start
The Eagleville Lady Eagles came to Chapel Hill Tuesday night minus their leading scorer in Julia Adamowicz, who was out due to illness, and the Lady Rockets soon found out that a wounded animal is sometimes the toughest to defeat as they trailed at the end of every quarter, except the one that mattered in a come-from-behind 43-38 win.
The first quarter started out very slow on both sides with Eagleville's Ashley Tidwell scoring the first four points of the game before Forrest finally got on the board at the 2:02 mark of the period on a Hannah Phifer basket.
Eagleville was determined to win for their fallen star, scoring the next twelve points, while holding the Lady Rockets scoreless the remainder of the period with the big blow coming on a buzzer beating three-pointer by Nicole Duke to make it 16-2.
"We were pretty scared, I mean it was crazy because we came out so slow," said Phifer after the game. "Julia wasn't playing, so it was kind of different, but we still had to fight hard to win."
A Kelsie Barnes basket at the outset of the second quarter pushed the Eagleville lead to 18-2 before a Phifer bank-in trey gave Forrest some confidence.
After an Eagleville missed shot, Forrest head coach Jeremy Jean called a timeout and set up a play for a Tayler Andrews three-bomb that swished the cords to cut the Lady Eagles' lead to 18-8.
One free throw by Kristen Barnes made it 19-8 before Andrews stole the rock moments later and fed Kirston Holder for a three-bomb in front of the Forrest student section, slicing the Eagleville lead to 19-11.
There was no scoring for several minutes until Phifer put in a floater to cut the margin to six points and that would be the deficit entering the second half for the Lady Rockets, who trailed 22-16.
An Andrews three-pointer opened up the second half scoring, but both squads went into a cold spell until Adrean Jordan scored for Forrest, trimming the Eagleville to just a single digit at 22-21 with under five minutes to play in the third quarter.
Becca Browning hit one of two from the free throw line for Eagleville moments later, but Jordan scored in the low post at the 3:15 mark of the period to tie the contest at 23.
An Eagleville turnover led to the go-ahead basket by Phifer at the 1:59 mark, but Eagleville stayed strong, scoring the last five points of the quarter, capped by a Hannah Mayes steal and score as time ran out in the third period.
One free throw by Mayes early in the fourth made it a four-point game at 29-25, and after a Forrest miss, Mayes scored again on a lay-in to make it a half dozen point lead for the Rutherford County squad.
The Lady Rockets began to find the mark at the perfect time as Phifer drilled a trey, followed by two Candace Daughrity baskets in the paint, and an Andrews drive to the hoop.
All of a sudden, the Lady Rockets had broken out to a three-point lead at 34-31, but still the Lady Eagles were not done as they came back to knot the contest at 34 moments later.
Forrest turned the ball over, but Savannah Brothers swiped it right back and raced in for a lay-up to make it 36-34 with 2:56 remaining in the game.
An Eagleville miscue led to a foul on Scarlett Roberson, who calmly drilled both ends of a one-and-one to make it 38-34.
The Lady Rockets were not successful on two subsequent bonus opportunities, but Roberson scored on a short jumper with two minutes to go, extending the Lady Rockets' lead to six points at 40-34.
A Lindsey McRee three cut the margin in half for Eagleville, but two free throws by Phifer and one by Roberson down the stretch was enough to complete the comeback for the Lady Rockets.
Phifer led the Lady Rockets in scoring with 13 points, Andrews was in double figures with 10, Roberson ended up with seven points, Daughrity and Jordan scored four points apiece, Holder had the one trey, and Brothers the one huge steal and score in the fourth quarter.
In Adamowicz' absence, Mayes led all scorers in the contest with 17 points.
The Lady Rockets (9-10, 5-3) travel to Huntland (11-8, 5-3) Friday night to try to avenge a 45-37 loss in Chapel Hill in December to the Lady Hornets and Phifer knew the importance of the meeting, saying, "Huntland is a big game, they beat us once, so we will be ready."