Rockets lose heartbreaker to Vikings

Friday, January 11, 2013
Forrest's Mark Pope (20) drains one of his four three-pointers in the Rockets' 47-45 loss to Community Tuesday night in Chapel Hill. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Community Vikings sacked the Rockets 47-45 in Chapel Hill Tuesday night, dealing out the latest heartbreaker to Forrest.

The Rockets (10-8, 2-5) won all the close ballgames last year on their way to the District 9-A regular season title, but the tide has turned on the blue and white, who have been on the short end of most of the nail biters this season.

"Our issue was we waited until the fourth quarter to play defense," said Forrest head coach Wes Hobbs. "We gave up way too many points tonight, way too many easy baskets, we were getting beat on things we shouldn't get beat on and we did not communicate well on the defensive end."

The win was the first for Community (6-9, 1-6) in district play this season.

"I look at this season and we have just had some really tough losses, it's just the flip from last year when we had some great close wins in district," said Hobbs.

After a short-lived 4-3 lead very early in the contest, the Rockets found themselves in a come from behind mode the rest of the night, finally tying the game on a rare four-point play by Mark Pope with 27.8 seconds remaining in the game.

A crowd-displeasing foul call on the Rockets after the Pope miracle sent Luke Primm to the foul line where he iced the game, draining two frees with 5.3 ticks left.

Tyler "Juice" Rumley (22) puts the fake on Community's Tanner Simmons (21) before scoring a fourth quarter basket.

Tyler "Juice" Rumley got off a three-pointer from the corner at the buzzer that was off target, sending the Rockets to the locker room with another tough loss that careened them all the way to sixth place in the District 9-A standings.

"We had a good shot from in the corner to win the game, it was a very unselfish pass by Pope to hit "Juice" in the corner," said Hobbs. "You ask me if I want that look, of course, it just didn't fall for him. He was crushed, but we should not have been in that situation."

The Rockets trailed by three points after the first quarter before mounting a comeback in the second period.

After a Taylor Paschal three-pointer with under two and half minutes to play in the second quarter gave the Vikings a 30-25 lead, the Rockets exploded on back-to-back-to-back three pointers by Ty Hoeft, followed by a pair of Pope missiles to take a 34-32 lead.

A Luke Primm three-bomb at the buzzer spoiled the Rockets' fun, giving Community a 35-34 halftime lead.

Zeke Grissom and Rumley traded baskets to begin the third quarter before the Vikings surged ahead 45-39, thanks to an 8-1 run.

Forrest would cut the lead back to four points on a late Horvath basket, but Community managed to take a half dozen lead to the fateful fourth quarter.

"We are going to keep fighting and I told the guys they didn't quit, they played to the final buzzer," said Hobbs.

Pope ended up with 18 points, including four treys to lead all scorers in the contest.

Rumley scored 13 points for the Rockets, while Dakota Zimmerman netted seven, Horvath finished with six, Jacob Daughrity, Blake Leonard and Lucas Pruitt all had five points apiece, and Hoeft ended up with the one trey.

Primm led the Vikings with 16 points and Tanner Simmons was also in double figures with 15.