Rockets' blitzkrieg overwhelms Tigers

Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Photos by Anthony S. Puca Dakota Zimmerman (2) nails a jumper from the corner to end the twenty-two point first period for the Rockets, who beat Fayetteville 67-27 in the first round of the District 9-A Tournament at MTCS on Saturday.

The Forrest Rockets wasted no time disposing of a youthful Fayetteville squad in Saturday's District 9-A kick-off game at MTCS, orchestrating a devastating first-quarter blitzkrieg that carried them to a lopsided 67-27 win.

Forrest head coach Wes Hobbs said after the game, "The guys executed the game plan perfect and they came out with a fire tonight from the start and that is what we wanted to see. We had our shooters make some big shots tonight, which helps a lot and it was just an all-around good win."

With the first round triumph, top-seeded Forrest moves to round two where they will take on archrival Cascade on Valentine's Day at 6:00 pm.

Marshall Hunter (30) drills one of his three treys in the ballgame over Fayetteville's James Keith (30) in the first quarter as the Rockets soared to a forty-point win over the Tigers.

The forth seeded Champions, who took out Huntland 66-53, have lost seven straight to Forrest and have suffered district tournament losses to the Rockets three out of the last five years.

Forrest beat the Champions in the title game in 2010, but fell to Cascade in the 2007 boys' final.

On Saturday afternoon, Fayetteville's Aaron Parks fired the first volley, drilling a three-pointer on the Tigers' second touch of the ballgame, and moments later, Nick Hopkins gave Fayetteville a 6-5 lead with another long bomb.

Marshall Hunter set the blitzkrieg in motion with a three-pointer for the Rockets, who scored 17-straight points after the Hopkins trey to put the game away.

A Zach Ray bucket down low, followed by a Zach Horvath three-point play in the paint made it 13-6 before Hunter drilled another three-pointer to open up a double-digit lead.

If that wasn't enough, Forrest got juiced up as Tyler Rumley came off the bench to score on a swipe and two, followed by a pretty pull-up jumper in lane, before Dakota Zimmerman ended the quarter with a swish from the corner to give the Rockets a 22-6 lead.

"The big thing about playing a team that is so quick and has so many skill players is to keep them out of the lane and that is what we wanted to focus on," said Hobbs. "We did some switching on screens on defense to really just try to keep them out of the paint and take tough shots over us, and that is what we did."

James Keith and Aaron Parks hit back-to-back baskets for Fayetteville to begin the second quarter.

A Horvath turnaround jumper in the lane lit the afterburners for Forrest as they went on a 10-1 run, capped off by a three-pointer by Rumley to extend the Rockets' lead to 32-11 with 2:15 remaining in the first half.

Forrest led 34-13, entering the third period and did not take their foot off the gas as Pope hit two free throws and Colby Anglin followed with a steal and score before Parks hit a jumper for the Tigers, who now trailed 38-15.

The Rockets soared away to a thirty-point lead on a basket from Horvath, followed by five points by Pope on a three-bomb and a drive to dish for a deuce.

Forrest would lead 50-22 after three periods as Hobbs emptied the bench with most of the fourth quarter played under the thirty-five point mercy rule.

In the forty-point win, the Rockets (22-7) had eleven players enter their names in the scoring column with Horvath and Pope (3 treys) leading the way with 13 points apiece.

Hunter had nine points on three treys, Rumley also scored nine with one three-pointer, Chase Hensley had five fourth quarter points (1trey), Zach Ray, Jesse Pruitt, and Zimmerman netted four points apiece, and Anglin, Jacob Daughrity, and Ty Hoeft rounded out the scoring with two points apiece.