Lady Rockets blast off fast, hold on late to beat Cornersville
The Forrest Lady Rockets tuned up for their District 9-A Tournament opener versus Community on Friday night with a solid 56-52 win over intra-county rival and District 11-A number one seeded Cornersville on senior night Tuesday in Chapel Hill.
Forrest head coach Jeremy Jean said after the game, "They came out tonight and played hard from the get-go and took it at them. We played good offense and defense, and we didn't foul early. This is a good way going into the tournament, playing a four-quarter game."
Tayler Andrews lit the fuse for Forrest early, coming up with two steals and two three-pointers, bookending a Makenzie Hopkins basket to put the Lady Rockets up 6-2.
Forrest came up with two more steals by Candace Daughrity and Adrean Jordon, but could not convert on the offensive end and Cornersville's Kaitlin Rogers scored in the low post to make it a 6-4 ballgame.
Savannah Brothers scored for Forrest and after a Cornersville turnover and subsequent timeout with 2:30 remaining in the period, Scarlett Roberson drilled a three-bomb to put the hometown Lady Rockets up 11-4.
The Lady Bulldogs came back with an 8-2 run to end the quarter, capped off by a Martha Jane McMasters trey and only trailed by one-point at 13-12, entering period number two.
Candace Daughrity sparked the Lady Rockets to begin the second quarter of senior night action as she drained a three-pointer and after a Cornersville miscue, Daughrity scored on a backdoor play to make it 18-12.
Rogers got one point back at the free throw line, but two Jordan baskets in the paint made it 22-13 before Ashley Umbles broke the string with a basket underneath.
Brothers and Rogers traded treys before a Roberson bucket and one free throw by Brothers made it a ten-point game 28-18 and that was the margin going in to the second half with Forrest leading 30-20.
Cornersville cut the Forrest lead to seven points at 30-23 on the back of a Hopkins basket, steal and one free throw by Rogers.
Kirston Holder hit baskets on back-to-back touches for Forrest, but Rogers was tough again in the low post for another score to make it 34-25.
The Lady Rockets kicked in the after-burners and jettisoned away from the Lady Dawgs with a 9-1 run to end the period.
Andrews was the catalyst once again, nailing two free throws after snatching a rebound and being hacked.
Hannah Phifer followed with a steal moments later and fed Brothers for a lay-up, and Andrews finished the quarter with two baskets and a foul shot with the final two points coming at the buzzer to give the home team a 43-26 lead, entering the final eight minutes of play.
A McMasters' trey began the fourth quarter for the Lady Dawgs and Umbles followed with five consecutive points as Cornersville cut the FHS lead to 43-34.
Roberson squelched the run with a trey, but Rogers matched it at the other end.
Forrest led by six-points at 50-44 with two minutes to go in the contest before Rogers scored again and moments later, hit one of two from the line to slice the Forrest lead to just three points at 50-47.
Brothers scored on a backdoor play with 1:11 remaining in the game and CHS head coach Micah Landers called timeout.
Roberson came up with the defensive play of the ballgame when she swiped the ball after the Cornersville timeout, and from there Forrest finished off the Lady Dawgs from the free throw line to gain their fifteenth victory of the season against twelve losses.
It was the tenth victory in a row for the Lady Rockets over Cornersville (15-10), dating back to December 2, 2003.
Rogers had a huge game for Cornersville, leading all scorers with 23 points.
Andrews led Forrest in the scoring column with 14 points, Brothers had 13, Roberson 10, Phifer six, Daughrity five, and Jordan and Holder both ended up with four points apiece.
While the Lady Bulldogs earned a first round bye in the upcoming District 11-A Tournament with their first place finish, the Lady Rockets take on Community (8-17) in first round action of the 9-A tourney on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. at MTCS.
The winner gets the victor of the Huntland/MTCS game in a Monday night second-round game at 7:30.