Hobbs knows repeat performance will be tough
Forrest head coach Wes Hobbs turned in an incredible first season on the bench last year, posting an overall 24-9 record, while winning the regular season District 9-A title with a a 13-1 mark, but a second round 57-51 Region 5-A tournament loss to McEwen spoiled the magic carpet ride for the Rockets.
"I am glad to be back; we had great time last year and look forward to another good time this year," said Hobbs. "I think we kind of came in under the radar last year and surprised some people. It was a perfect situation with all the support of the players, the community, the parents, and the administration here."
The Rockets started the league slate last season with a 3-0 record before an early-December loss at Middle Tennessee Christian School, but reeled off 10 straight regular season district wins to claim the number-one seed for the district tournament.
A second loss to MTCS in the championship game eventually meant a second-round region match-up versus McEwen that ended the Rockets' season.
"We got on a roll," said Hobbs. "We stared the season a little slow, but I think we played some tough teams that got us ready for that district run and I was really happy with the way we just focused on each game we played."
"McEwen was a good team, an experienced team, and a well-coached team," added Hobbs. "They were a solid team and they ended up making the final four of the state, so I don't feel like we under-achieved in who we lost to."
This year's squad has the potential to do it all over again and more, with four outstanding seniors: all-around player Tyler "Juice" Rumley, superb athlete Zach Horvath, in-your-face defender Dakota Zimmerman, and Mark Pope, probably the most prolific scorer in the district.
"Last year we were lucky enough to have different guys step up at different times in the season and I think it leads back to shooting the ball and those two (Pope and Rumley) being able to shoot the ball, knock down the open shot and step back and make the threes opened up a lot more for us."
The junior class includes defensive specialist Jacob Daughrity, sharp-shooting Chase Hensley, a pair of solid back-court players in Ty Hoeft and Caleb Keller, post man Kennedy Mathis, and Rocket starting post player Lucas Pruitt, who has sprouted near the rim.
"What Daughrity brings back this year is a toughness to the team and sometimes we lose sight of what great defenders we have on this team," said Hobbs.
Hensley and Keller will push for time at the point-guard spot and Pruitt is coming off shoulder surgery, but has recovered and is ready to go.
"Lucas finally gives us a bigger post than we have had over the years and with him just being just a junior, when some of these perimeter guys graduate, I could see us going more to the post game in the future," said Hobbs.
Sophomores contributors will be Will Edmonson, who can fill it up from three-land, forward Blake Leonard, solid centers Jake Townsend and Tanner Roberson, and up-and-coming backcourt men Colton Cook and Caleb Hogan.
The Rockets will be hard pressed to match last year's superb district record, but the group has weathered past storms and will definitely be in the hunt for a title and a sectional berth in 2012-2013.
"These guys are hard workers, we are kind of a blue-collar team and these guys come to gym every day ready to work," said Hobbs. "Our goal this year is to focus on the defensive end and hopefully we will be fun to watch and the fans will get their money's worth."
Hobbs added, "What I told the guys is, this team has done nothing, we can't look to what last year's team did, we can't look to the future, we have the pieces to what the team did last year, but we have to go out and earn it."
Forrest Boys Roster
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