Rockets sweep academies in Thanksgiving Classic
The Forrest Rockets swept their holiday plate clean, beating Nashville's LEAD Academy 55-31 on Wednesday and coming back on Saturday with a 66-48 win over Smyrna's Gabriel Christian Academy at the Forrest Thanksgiving Tournament.
"They (LEAD) were very athletic, they definitely pressed us some, which is good," said Forrest head coach Wes Hobbs. "They were real aggressive guarding, especially the perimeter and that's always fun and that's why we schedule some of these teams to pressure us and make us work."
The sweep of the academy schools made it four in a row for the Rockets after beginning the season with a pair of losses.
Antonio Campbell scored off the opening tip for the LEAD Academy Panthers and after that, Forrest exploded, jumping all over the first year school.
Zach Horvath got the Rockets going with a basket before Mark Pope scored five straight, including a deep three-bomb.
After the Pope trey, Tyler "Juice" Rumley swiped the rock from LEAD and fed Dakota Zimmerman on the run to make it 9-2, forcing a Panther timeout with 4:43 remaining in the first quarter.
The Panthers came up empty after the stoppage and Zimmerman scored again to make it 11-2.
After several possessions by each squad, Forrest had the ball with just over two minutes remaining in the quarter.
The Rockets scored on three straight touches, beginning with a Ty Hoeft bucket, followed by back-to-back three pointers by Pope and Rumley, swelling the huge lead to 19-2 after the first eight minutes.
The Panthers found a little rhythm in the second quarter, but the Rockets still outscored their opponents 11-10 in the period and Forrest took a 30-12 lead to the halftime break.
A Pope basket at the outset of the second half gave the Rockets a 20-point lead they would maintain until late in the third quarter when Blake Leonard and Hoeft scored, giving Forrest a two-dozen point lead at 41-27, entering the final period.
Horvath opened up the fourth quarter scoring and seconds later, Rumley scored off a pretty Pope assist to make it a 45-17 ballgame as Forrest soared away to win by the 24-point margin.
Horvath and Pope scored 11 points apiece for Forrest, while Zimmerman was also in double digits with 10, Rumley ended up with 7, Hoeft had six points, Kennedy Mathis added 3 points, Jacob Daughrity, Lucas Pruitt and Leonard netted two points each and Caleb Keller had one free throw.
On Saturday, Gabriel Christian Academy (GCA) surprised Forrest and led 11-8 after the first quarter before each team scored 15 points in the second quarter for a 26-23 Eagles' lead at the half.
The Rockets took control of their home floor in the second half, doubling up GCA 22-11 in the third quarter to take a 45-37 lead into the final eight minutes of play in Chapel Hill.
"We have done some good things the last couple games and I really felt that JPII game, even though we lost, we started in the right direction and hopefully, we can keep that rolling," said Hobbs.
Forrest kept the hot hand with 21 additional points in the fourth quarter, while holding GCA to 11 points in the 18-point victory.
Pope led all scorers in the contest with 20 points, including three treys.
Rumley finished with 11 and 2 three-pointers, while Horvath and Daughrity (two treys) were both in double figures with 10 points.
Pruitt ended up with seven points, Zimmerman scored a half dozen and Leonard rounded out the Rockets' scoring with a deuce.
Devan Kucker and Antonio Massi scored nine points apiece for the Eagles.