Pope scores 1,000th point in senior night win

Friday, February 10, 2012
Mark Pope (20) drives to the hoop to score his 1,000th point on the first possession of the second half in the Rockets' 55-48 senior night win over Cornersville Tuesday night in Chapel Hill. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Rockets, coming off a huge District 9-A title clinching win Friday night over Community, capped off the regular season slate with a 55-48 senior night victory over a scrappy Cornersville Bulldogs squad on Tuesday in Chapel Hill.

It was win number 14 in a row for Forrest (21-7) over Cornersville (2-21), dating back to February 8, 2002.

The Rockets may have been looking ahead to their district tournament opener versus Fayetteville (5-17) on Saturday at Middle Tennessee Christian School, or they may have been paying too much attention to getting Mark Pope his 1,000th point as the Bulldogs hung tough for much of the contest.

Forrest junior Mark Pope (20) cradles his 1,000th point ball with his teammates from left, Zach Ray (10), Zach Horvath (4), Marshall Hunter (30), and Colby Anglin (0).

"We didn't play like we should have, but we got the job done, just not in the way we wanted to," said FHS senior Marshall Hunter. "If we come out and play like we did tonight versus Fayetteville, we won't be around very long."

Cornersville's Danny Gordon drained a three-pointer on the Bulldogs' first touch before Forrest's Zach Horvath tied the game on a traditional three-point play in the paint.

Pope put the Rockets up for good moments later on a steal and score, before Hayden McMahon and Dakota Zimmerman traded baskets to make it a 7-5 ballgame.

Forrest then ripped off eight straight points on baskets Zimmerman, Ray, Pope, and Tyler Rumley to go up by double digits at 15-5.

Jamie Crowell would score at the end of the first period for the Dawgs, and at the outset of the second quarter, Stone Riner and McMahon scored the first four points to make it a 15-11 contest.

With the Rockets' lead at six-points at 19-13, Jacob Daughrity scored for Forrest and Zimmerman came up with a steal and score to make it a ten-point game once again.

By the end of the first half, Forrest led by eleven, 27-16.

On the first possession of the second half, Pope scored on a drive to the dish to get his 1,000th point and it must have spurred his comrades on because the Rockets reeled off eight more points on two baskets by Ray, another by Pope, and one by Rumley to open up a huge 37-16 lead on the Bulldogs.

The Rockets began to substitute liberally at that point and took a 41-26 lead in to the final eight minutes.

With 3:44 remaining in the contest, Horvath drilled a three-pointer, and after a Cornersville timeout, Daughrity scored to make it 47-30.

The Bulldogs would not go away, still nipping at the Rockets' heels as they went on an 11-3 run to cut the FHS lead to nine at 50-41 with just over a minute to go.

Anglin scored on a pretty fake and run to the hoop to stop the bleeding and the Bulldogs ran out of time in an attempt to catch up and fell by the seven-point margin.

McMahon led all scorers in the contest with 16 points, while Zach Smith (3 treys) and Riner were also in double figures with 13 and 10 points respectively.

Horvath led the Rockets with 11 points, Pope finished with 10, Ray, Rumley, and Zimmerman all netted 8 points apiece, Daughrity scored five, Ty Hoeft had one bucket, and Hunter score one point to round out the evening's scoring.

The Rockets' first round game with Fayetteville begins at 4:00 p.m. and if Forrest wins, they will play the winner of the Cascade/Huntland game on Valentine's Day at 6:00 p.m.

Forrest has struggled with Fayetteville twice this season before prevailing both times and Hunter said about the match-up, "We are planning a little bit different than we usually do against them, so hopefully we will come out and handle them how we should."