Rockets come up big at Eagleville, bust three game skid
The defending District 9A regular season champion Forrest Rockets broke a three-game skid Friday night, coming up with a big 50-44 league win at Eagleville.
"We needed this one, we have lost some close ones lately and have been struggling a little bit," said Forrest head coach Wes Hobbs. "This game is always a rivalry game and the boys played hard. We played much better defensively tonight and to hold a good scoring team like them in the forties is what we want to do."
Forrest led after the first two quarters before Eagleville came back to tie the game at the end of the third quarter, but some clutch play and free throw shooting down the stretch by Tyler "Juice" Rumley and Dakota Zimmerman was the difference in the ballgame.
With 1:23 to play in the first quarter, the score was tied at seven when Blake Leonard netted a basket in the low post.
Chris Hale made one of two from the free throw line before Jacob Daughrity was fouled at the other end and made both of his attempts to give the Rockets an 11-8 lead after the first quarter.
Daughrity and Rumley nailed back-to-back three-pointers, beginning the second quarter that ignited a huge 12-2 Forrest run that put Eagleville in a 23-10 hole.
Hale, who led the Eagles with 16 points in the contest, sparked a 7-2 spurt that cut the Forrest lead to eight points at 25-17 by halftime.
A Zimmerman trey early in the third quarter put the Rockets up by nine points, but a Joshua McCray three-pointer, followed by a Forrest turnover that turned into two points for Hale, made it 28-24.
McCray would go downtown twice more in the third quarter with his third trey making it a two-point game once again at 32-30 with 2:30 remaining in the period.
After a Rocket turnover, Jason Hawks scored in the low post for Eagleville, tying the game at 32.
Zimmerman and Darin Knox traded baskets at the end of the third quarter, sending the hard fought contest to the fourth quarter, tied at 34.
"Eagleville is a team that can get really streaky," said Hobbs. "They can really start putting some runs together and you just have to bounce back when they give you a chance and we did that."
Zimmerman hit two free throws to begin the final eight minutes and Andrew Jernigan scored for Eagleville to re-knot the contest.
Rumley converted at the other end, and after an Eagleville brick, Zimmerman scored on a rebound and put-back to open up a four-point Forrest lead, forcing an Eagles' timeout with 6:16 left to play in the game.
The Rockets went cold from the field and began to accumulate some fouls, but the Eagles managed to make just two of five foul shots over the next several possessions and still trailed 40-38 with just over three minutes to play.
A Zach Horvath free throw broke the scoring drought for Forrest, but Hale scored in the paint, making it a one-point game at 41-40.
Forrest missed after the Hale free throw, but the Eagles gave it right back on a turnover and Rumley hit two foul shots to put the Rockets up by three points.
Lucas Pruitt scored in the low post for Forrest after another Eagleville missed shot with 1:47 remaining in the contest, the Rockets had the ball in a timeout.
Rumley was fouled on a put-back attempt after the stoppage and swished both free throws, putting Eagleville in a 47-40 hole.
Single foul shots by Hale and McCray made it a 47-42 ballgame, but time was running short on the Eagles.
Mark Pope converted the front end of a one and one with 35.2 seconds remaining, and after a John Posada basket, Rumley put the game on ice with two more foul shots in the six-point win.
Zimmerman led all scorers in the contest with 17 points, while Rumley scored 13, Horvath 7, Daughrity 6, Pruitt 4, Leonard 2 and Pope had a single marker.
The Rockets travel to Richland for a post-Christmas tournament, beginning on Friday when they have a chance to avenge an early season 54-51 loss to the Raiders.
"Getting to play Richland again will be a lot of fun," said Hobbs. "They are a team very similar to us with the different kind of athletes and stuff, so it will be a great match-up for us. We are looking to just getting better, kind of working some guys in and just get better."
On Saturday, the Rockets take on intra-county rival Cornersville, whom they beat 72-45 on Nov. 19.