"I think we had to come out against a team like Franklin and not make any mistakes," said Forrest head coach Wes Hobbs. "You had to play almost a perfect game and when we got behind some and had to foul, they made all their free throws."
"They played real physical with us and we have got to move past that, look to drive the lanes, kick it out to our shooters and get in a little better rhythm offensively," added Hobbs.
Forrest would finally score on Zach Horvath basket, but fell into a 12-4 hole until a Jacob Daughrity three-pointer began a ten-point rally that was capped by a Mark Pope trey with 50 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
A late bucket by Franklin's Colson Patton tied the game at 14 after the first eight minutes.
The lead would seesaw back and forth for much of the second quarter until consecutive Lucas Pruitt baskets in the paint gave Forrest a three-point margin at 26-23.
Franklin's Kyle Tackett and Forrest's Kennedy Mathis went on to trade baskets before Nelson hit a late free throw, making it 28-26 Forrest, at the half.
A Nelson three-bomb, followed by two Tackett free throws early in the third period, gave the Rebels a lead they would never surrender.
A Horvath basket cut the Franklin lead to one-point at 31-30, but the visiting Rebs went on a 7-2 run to lead by six points before Pope cut the margin in half with another three-pointer.
A Tackett basket was matched by two Ty Hoeft free throws, keeping the Rockets close at 40-37.
Early in the final period, Nelson drilled another three-bomb to open up a double-digit lead on the Rockets and the Rebels never looked back from there in the 14-point win.
"I told the guys we can't hang our heads on this, we have plenty of more games coming up," said Hobbs. "We just have to let this one go. Playing a well-coached team like Franklin and the good group of guys they have will just make us better down the road."
Nelson scored 30 points in the contest, including five three-pointers and a 5-6 performance from the free throw line.
Tackett and Patton were also in double figures for the Rebels with 11 and 10 points respectively.
Pope scored 14 points to lead Forrest, Hoeft had eight, Tyler Rumley, Daughrity and Horvath all scored five points apiece, Pruitt ended up with four and Dakota Zimmerman rounded out the FHS scoring with three points.
Forrest takes on Pope John Paul II at 10:30 am Saturday before matching up with Loretto at 8:30 pm in the finale of the Hall of Fame event in Chapel Hill.
"It was a great student section, I can't say enough about those guys coming out and supporting both teams," said Hobbs. "I think we gave them two, good ballgames tonight."