Rockets roll past Bulldogs
Coming off an impressive win over Richland the previous night, the Forrest Rockets (9-6) reeled off their third straight victory on Saturday afternoon when they defeated the Cornersville Bulldogs 61-37 at the Richland Christmas Classic.
The Rockets broke the game open early and built a 33-17 lead in the first half before outscoring CHS 28-20 over the final two quarters to cruise to their second win of the season over the Bulldogs (2-12).
Bolstered by a 9-of-15 shooting performance in the first quarter, Forrest finished with a 23-16 advantage in field goals and held a 6-1 edge in three-pointers while outscoring Cornersville 9-4 at the foul line.
"Before today's game we talked about forgetting what you've done previously and getting ready for the game that's in front of you," said FHS coach Wes Hobbs. "With our team, we talk about wanting to be patient offensively. When you make one or two passes you can get a good shot, but when you make five of six passes you can end up getting a great shot."
The Rockets also outrebounded the Bulldogs 41-28, held a 17-10 edge on the offensive glass, and committed six fewer turnovers (15-9) than CHS.
"I think we played with more effort than we did against Fayetteville yesterday, but we just ran into a good team that does a lot of things well," said Cornersville coach Gerard Randolph. "Just when it seemed that we'd get something going they would hit a big a shot. That's what good teams do."
Senior guard Mark Pope led three Forrest players in double figures with 14 points, while Tyler Rumley and Lucas Pruitt tallied 12 and 10 points respectively with Pruitt grabbing a game high 11 rebounds. Kennedy Mathis notched nine points as well, and Zach Horvath added eight points and seven rebounds. Caleb Keller also chipped in four points for the Rockets, while Dakota Zimmerman and Ty Hoeft each chipped in two points with Hoeft dishing out five assists.
Point guard Tate Lowery paced the Bulldogs with 13 points, and Hayden McMahon registered nine points and nine rebounds. Jamie Crowell and Tyler Lowery notched four and three points for Cornersville as well, while Dakota Lovett, Jacob Reeves, Trevor Wells, and Hunter Swinney had two points apiece.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 9-5 lead midway through the first quarter with the help of four points from McMahon and a Tate Lowery trey, but Forrest seized control of the contest by putting together a 17-0 run behind seven points from Pope and four points from Pruitt to grab a 22-9 advantage late in the stanza.
After Tate Lowery hit a jumper as time expired in the first period to trim the deficit to 22-11, the Rockets tallied the first eight points of the second on a Rumley layup and a pair of treys from Keller and Pope to push their lead to 30-11 midway through the quarter.
Cornersville outscored FHS 6-3 over the final 3:32 of the first half thanks to baskets from Crowell, McMahon, and Reeves to narrow the gap to 33-17 at the break before Forrest opened the third period with a 8-2 spurt on the strength of four points from Pruitt to open up a 41-19 advantage with 5:00 left in the stanza.
The Bulldogs then engineered a 9-4 run with the aid of baskets from Crowell, McMahon, Tyler Lowery, and Tate Lowery to cut the deficit to 45-28 early in the fourth quarter, but the Rockets outscored Cornersville 16-9 the rest of the way behind nine points from Mathis and four points from Pope to cap their 61-37 victory.