Lady Rockets defend home court
Was it revenge for last year's season ending loss, or was it the beginning of a much-needed winning streak for the Forrest Lady Rockets as they defended their home court Tuesday night, defeating Community 47-45?
"I think that was a little motivation for them tonight," said Forrest head coach Jeremy Jean. "Revenge was a lot of it, but I am hoping that they just want to play. They are starting to play with some energy, they are having fun and I am seeing some clapping and some cheering from each other, so I hope we are starting to go in the right direction, finally."
An Amanda Chumbley basket with just over two minutes to play in the first quarter gave Forrest an 11-10 lead before Community outscored the Lady Rockets 7-2 in the waning moments to take a 17-13 lead after one quarter.
Forrest eighth-grader Caitlyn Yost, who scored a team high 19 points, including a perfect 7-7 performance from the free throw line provided a huge spark to begin the second quarter, scoring the first six points of the period to re-claim the lead for the Lady Rockets.
"Coach tells us to get at them and play as hard we can, don't let down at all and just keep pushing," said Yost. "You always try to get the best shot you can, but coach always tells us to drive, drive and if you're not open, pass the ball."
A Viqueen turnover led to a Candace Daughrity three-ball and moments later, Hannah Phifer scored on a rebound and put-back to make it a 24-17 ballgame.
After misses by both teams, Yost swiped the ball, raced in, scored and converted the three-point play at the foul line, putting Forrest up by double digits at 27-17.
Sarah Pierce, who led all scorers in the ballgame with 24 points, broke the Forrest run with the Viqueens lone basket of the second quarter before Kirston Holder made one free throw and Yost scored on a rebound and put-back, giving FHS a 30-19 lead at the half.
Forrest built their lead to 14-points at 35-21 midway through the third quarter after a Phifer three-pointer and held a comfortable 39-26 lead, entering the final eight minutes of play.
The Lady Rockets seemed in control, leading 43-29 after Yost converted a one and one situation at the free line with 3:58 remaining in the contest.
Community dug in, coming from behind via a 16-4 assault with Pierce scorching the cords for 12 points, including three long bombs with the last one coming with a couple of seconds remaining in the game.
Alertly, Forrest senior Candace Daughrity grabbed the ball after the Pierce basket and knowing that the Viqueens were out of timeouts, held the ball while the clocked ticked to zero.
Phifer ended up with eight points for Forrest, Daughrity scored six, Savannah Brothers and Hannah Evans netted four, Amanda Chumbley and Scarlett Roberson netted a deuce, while Tayler Andrews and Holder had one marker apiece.
With the two-point win, Forrest moved to 8-12 overall, but broke the .500 mark on the season in District 9-A competition at 4-3 and good enough for fourth place in league play, tied with MTCS (10-7, 4-3), but on the short end of the head to head tiebreaker, thanks to a 59-56 loss to the Lady Cougars on Dec. 10.
"I am pleased with our effort tonight and the outcome, but until the last game is over, we will try to get better at the little things," said Jean.
The Lady Rockets travel to second place Moore County (16-4, 6-1) on Friday.
"We have to win Friday night, it's a must win to keep going," said Jean. "We have to get on a winning streak, we have only won two in a row twice and we have got to get to where we can put three or four good games together and now is the time to do it."
Cascade (11-5, 6-1) took over the top spot in the district, knocking off the Raiderettes Tuesday 46-43 in Lynchburg.