Lady Hornets' early sting stymies Forrest
The Forrest Lady Rockets fell to 3-8 on the season and winless in league play as they lost their second consecutive District 9-A contest on Friday at Huntland 57-53.
Lady Hornet low post standout Alexis Smith muscled in 28 points as Huntland won their first district game of the season, staving off a late Forrest charge to move to 5-3 overall and 1-2 in league play.
"It goes back to just, we weren't ready to play," said Forrest head coach Jeremy Jean. "I don't why or what's going on individually, because some are ready and some aren't and we have to figure it out by Monday or we will be 0-3 in the district."
A Caitlyn Yost basket and two Savannah Brothers' free throws were enough for an early 5-4 Lady Rockets' lead.
The Lady Hornets stung Forrest, mostly by Smith and her cohorts down in the paint with a 12-3 run before a late three-pointer by Kirston Holder sliced the Huntland lead to seven points on the next to last possession of the first quarter.
"We have to learn to value every possession," said Jean. "We have to find a way to quit starting slow and if we do, we have to finish strong."
A long three-pointer by Faith Elrod highlighted an 11-5 Huntland surge to go ahead 28-15.
Yost and Holder would score in between an Elrod free throw before Forrest got a boost from senior Tayler Andrews, who came off the bench to pay immediate dividends when she dished to Hannah Evans on a fast break lay-up, slicing the Huntland lead to eight points 29-21.
Moments later, Hannah Phifer drilled a long three-bomb, making it a five-point contest at the half.
Ali Golden opened up the third period scoring for Huntland, but Candace Daughrity rained down a three-pointer, and after a Lady Hornet miscue, Holder was fouled and made both free throws to cut the lead to just two points at 31-29.
Smith scored six out the next eight points in the game as Huntland went up by a half dozen points at 37-31 with 3:58 remaining in the third quarter.
Evans kept the Lady Rockets close with a couple of scores and Daughrity cut even further into the Huntland lead with a basket, making it 41-37 when Callie Perkins squelched the Forrest threat with a three-pointer.
The Perkins trey sparked Huntland as they ended the third period with an eight-point 46-38 lead.
Forrest stayed within range most of the fourth period until Huntland built the lead to thirteen points at 55-42 with less than two minutes to go in the game.
The Lady Rockets would not go down easy as Brothers would bookend pair of baskets around a Yost score, and after a tie-up on the floor in favor of Forrest, Phifer made it a five-point game at 55-50 with a jumper in the lane.
Smith and Brothers exchange free throws to keep the margin intact before a Yost rebound and put-back with 8.3 seconds remaining in the contest cut the lead to a deuce.
Forrest had to foul and Smith went to the line where she made the first before missing the second.
The ball bounded around and the time ticked away in the game with Brothers leading the Lady Rockets in scoring with 12 points, Yost was also in double figures with 10, while Evans scored eight, Holder netted seven, Daughrity and Phifer finished with six points apiece and Scarlett Roberson and Amanda Chumbley chipped in with two points apiece.
Forrest travels to MTCS on Monday and will host Cascade on Tuesday and Jean said, "We are in a spot now where the best we can finish is probably second and I want to win out and at least tie somebody for something. It's still early, but we have to fix this stuff now."
Elrod and Golden each had 10 points for Huntland, while Perkins ended up with five and Courtnee Mayes scored four.