Rockets repel Raiders
The Forrest Rockets (8-6) gave their fans a late present last Friday night by defeating the Richland Raiders 74-68 at the Richland Christmas Classic.
Having narrowly lost to the Raiders 54-51 in their previous encounter on Nov. 27, the Rockets held a 26-24 lead at the break of Friday's contest before using a 31-13 run to forge a 57-37 advantage with 5:33 left in the fourth quarter.
Forrest then weathered a frantic rally attempt by Richland (12-3) with the help of some clutch foul shooting to claim the six-point victory.
"Anytime you play a team again you want to correct the mistakes you made the last time. We came real close the last time so we wanted to get the win tonight," said FHS coach Wes Hobbs. "Coach (Jason) Loveless does a great job here and playing his team is always a challenge."
Bolstered by a 9-of-19 effort from three-point range, the Rockets shot a blistering 55 percent (23-of-42) from the field overall, which included a 10-of-16 shooting performance in the third quarter.
"One of the things that we talked about at halftime was having a real good third quarter because we were in the same situation the last time we faced them and didn't play well in the third," said Hobbs.
Although they committed 21 turnovers, Forrest outrebounded the Raiders 27-19 and made 19-of-23 free throws, highlighted by a 14-of-17 effort in the fourth period.
Tyler Rumley drilled five treys and led three Rocket players in double figures with 22 points and five assists. Mark Pope followed Rumley with 18 points, and Lucas Pruitt added 17 points and eight rebounds. Zach Horvath tallied eight points for Forrest as well, while Dakota Zimmerman, Caleb Keller, and Ty Hoeft chipped in four, three, and two points respectively.
After shooting 38 percent (15-of-39) through the first three quarters, Richland hit 12-of-21 field goal attempts in the fourth period to finish 27-of-60 from the floor overall, which included a 8-of-25 performance from beyond the arc. The Raiders also turned the ball over just 10 times, but made only seven trips to the free throw line, hitting six.
Jacob Farrar poured in a game high 32 points on 12-of-15 shooting to pace Richland, while Bret Boatright and Carson Edwards notched 12 and 10 points respectively. Cody Jordan also added six points for the Raiders.
Richland held an 11-8 lead at the end of the first quarter before FHS outscored the Raiders 8-4 over the first 2:28 of the second period with the aid of a Pope layup and treys from Rumley and Keller to pull ahead 16-15.
After Richland tallied seven of the next nine points to grab a 22-18 lead late in the second quarter, the Rockets closed the half with a 8-2 spurt, highlighted by two threes from Pope, to seize a 26-24 advantage going into the break.
Forrest then took control of the game at the start of second half by outscoring the Raiders 18-8 over the first 6:20 of the third quarter on the strength 10 points from Pruitt and eight points from Rumley to push their lead to 44-32.
Jordan converted a three-point play to trim the deficit to 44-35, but the Rockets put together a 13-2 run behind four points from Pruitt, a Horvath three-point play, and a couple of treys from Rumley and Pope to open up a 57-37 advantage early in the fourth period.
Richland outscored FHS 13-2 over the next 2:18 to narrow the gap to 59-50, but Rumley buried a three and Pope made two free throws to make it 64-50 late in the fourth quarter.
The Raiders then used a 18-8 spurt to slice the deficit to 72-68, before Rumley hit two foul shots with :03 left to seal the Rockets 74-68 victory.