The Forrest Lady Rockets laid it all on the line Friday night versus the defending league champion Moore County Raiderettes, coming within a whisker of an upset before falling 45-42.
Although Forrest trailed the entire ballgame, except for two times early in the fourth quarter when they tied the game, they had several other opportunities to tie or go-ahead, but could not capitalize.
"I don't think the district is going to be won or lost tonight," said Forrest head coach Jeremy Jean. "I think the first place team will have two or three losses, so we have got to get rolling and we can't keep losing two or three in a row."
Class A Miss Basketball candidate Sarah Raby, who scored a game high 22 points for Moore County, seemed to snuff out every Forrest threat with her superior play in the post.
"We did a decent job defending her, but we didn't help the way we were supposed to," said Jean. "We had to pick our poison and tonight it was Raby."
Holder would convert the three-point play to cut the Raiderettes' lead to three points before Raby muscled in a basket in the paint to end the first period.
Forrest's Caitlyn Yost scored first in period number two, making it a three-point game, but Moore County would rebuild their five-point and maintain that margin until Savannah Brothers led the Lady Rockets back with a driving basket, followed by two free throws with 2:47 remaining in the first half.
Savannah Williams and Yost traded baskets, making it an 18-17 contest before Raby knocked in a rebound, giving Moore County a 20-17 lead.
Forrest would have five chances before the first half ended to either tie or take the lead, but turned the ball over twice and missed easy shots at the basket the other three times and had to settle for a three-point halftime deficit.
There was no scoring the first two minutes of the third period until Raby hit two free throws, re-opening the five-point lead for Moore County.
A long Hannah Phifer three-bomb kept Forrest close and with 2:41 remaining in the third quarter, Hannah Evans sliced the Raiderettes' lead to a single point at 24-23 on one of two from the free throw line.
Abby Grogan followed with a three-point play in the paint, giving Moore County a four-point lead at 27-23.
Brothers would keep the Lady Rockets in the game, scoring the next six points for Forrest, who trailed 32-29, entering the final eight minutes of play.
A Phifer tying three-bomb on the first touch of the final period fired up the huge throng as the Lady Rockets began to seize the momentum.
Evans tied the game again at 34 on a free throw and Forrest had a chance to go-ahead moments later, but a missed layup set-up a huge Erin Thomas trey, boosting the Moore County lead back to three points at 37-34.
Later on, Brothers cut the Moore County lead to 40-38 and had the ball after a Raiderette miscue.
Jean called timeout with 1:25 to play, but Forrest could not convert after the stoppage and Raby made it a four-point game once again when she swished both ends of a one and one situation.
The Lady Rockets had a chance to inch closer, but missed three out of four from the line and the Raiderettes looked like they would be in the clear after two Grogan foul shots with 10 seconds left gave Moore County a 44-39 lead.
Brothers nailed a long three-pointer and the Lady Rockets would not go down without a fight.
Jean called timeout after the Brothers trey and Yost came up with an incredible steal of the inbounds pass and was fouled with 2.1 seconds remaining in the contest.
The Forrest eighth grader would miss the first and intentionally miss the second shot, but Forrest could not haul in the rebound and the Raiderettes would escape with the hard fought win.
"Caitlyn doesn't get nervous because she is confident of her abilities, she shoots a lot on her own, so she is not nervous," said Jean. "I told her in the locker room that she would have that situation 15 or 20 more times in the next five years. It's a learning experience."
Brothers scored 16 points in the contest to lead Forrest, while Phifer had 10, Holder 7, Yost 5, and Evans and Scarlett Roberson had two points apiece.
On Saturday, Forrest shook off the disappointment versus Moore County as Lady Rockets came back with a 57-36 win over Santa Fe.
Yost also came back with a vengeance, scoring a game high 20 points Saturday night.