Forrest axed by Viqueens

Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Photos by Anthony S. Puca Tayler Andrews (12) scores after swiping the ball in the first quarter of the Lady Rockets' 36-30 season-ending loss to Community in the first round of the District 9-A Tournament Friday night at MTCS.

The Community Viqueens exorcised eight years' worth of pain Friday night at Middle Tennessee Christian School as they stunned the Forrest Lady Rockets 36-30 in the first round of the District 9-A Tournament.

The Viqueens' win over Forrest broke a 19-game losing streak, dating back to Jan. 30, 2004, and the first round district tournament loss had not happened to the Lady Rockets since the 2001-2002 season when they were axed in round one by Huntland in Chapel Hill.

Forrest finished with miserable numbers in the contest, including a 19 percent field goal shooting slump, a paltry 3-23 effort from three-point land, and a 5-12 performance from the free throw line, but the most dismal number was the measly 10 points they scored in a first half they could never recover from.

"We played not to lose the game and we did," said Forrest head coach Jeremy Jean. "We didn't come out and try to win, we were tight and the longer the game went on, the tighter we got. It was a snowball effect."

Katie Leverette had monster game for the Viqueens, scoring a game-high 17 points, including a clutch effort from the free throw line as she went 7-8 with several coming at crucial times in the contest.

A Scarlett Roberson basket opened up the scoring in the game before the Viqueens would eventually take a 5-3 lead on a Katie Leverette basket that was the beginning of a 13-3 run.

The Community scoring binge lasted in to the second quarter before Savannah Brothers made one of two from the free throw line to make it 16-6 with just fewer than six minutes to play in the first half.

Forrest would not muster a counter-offensive and trailed 20-10 at the half.

The comeback that was awaited by the Forrest faithful came to fruition with the Viqueens leading 27-16 with five minutes gone in the third quarter.

Hannah Phifer and Roberson spearheaded the surge with Phifer scoring five, including a trey and Roberson scored three points with the period ending bucket coming off a Phifer steal to make it 27-24 Community, entering the final eight minutes of play.

The Viqueens, determined not to let it slip away, went on a 5-0 mini-run to regain control and led by eight at 32-24 with 4:21 remaining in the contest.

Forrest freshman Savannah Brothers (21) buries a three-pointer to make it a 32-28 ballgame with 2:47 remaining in the contest, but the Lady Rockets could not complete the comeback as they fell to number seven seeded Community 36-30.

Forrest dug in to score four points on an Adrean Jordan free throw and a deep Brothers' three-bomb to slice the Viqueen lead in half with 2:47 left.

From there, Community sealed the 36-30 upset win with key free throws down the stretch coming from Brittany Leverette, Kristin Ray, and Hannah Busbee.

"That was clutch," said Jean. "Let's give credit to them; they played better than we did tonight."

Roberson led Forrest with seven points, Andrews and Phifer both netted five, Brothers and Jordan scored four points apiece, Candace Daughrity scored three, and Holder had a deuce.

"We played young tonight. Our youth, inexperience, and lack of confidence showed tonight," said Jean. "I told them after the game that they played hard and it just didn't work out."

While Forrest will watch round two from the sidelines for the first time in 10 years, Community moves on to Monday night's second round as they take on the host Lady Cougars of MTCS, who upset Huntland 55-40.

"Anna Brown has done a great job as manager for us for four years and Adrean came back and did a great job for us this year," said Jean. "We are going to lose both of them, but now we just have to get back to work and get ready for next year."

In the other side of the bracket, Moore County had no trouble with eighth- seeded Fayetteville, winning 61-34.

The Raiderettes, ranked number two in the latest AP Poll, will take on fifth-seeded Cascade, who upset four-seed Eagleville in a 59-55 thriller.

The D9-A final will be Thursday at 7:30 p.m.