Lady Rockets blast Huntland in coast-to-coast win
The Forrest Lady Rockets showed who was boss early in their District 9-A opening round game versus Huntland Friday night in Chapel Hill, jumping out to a 14-0 lead before securing an easy 57-34 coast-to-coast win.
"We came out with some really good intensity and we played loose, even though it was a go home game," said Forrest head coach Jeremy Jean. "We did a good job early and kept them from scoring for a while and once we got running we able to score and the more we got running, the more we were able to score, because we all know about their inside game."
With the win, Forrest earned a second round game versus No. 2 seed Cascade and an automatic berth in to the Region 5-A Tournament next week.
"I feel we are peaking at the right time," said Jean. "This is a team that can be scary if we start getting hot. We are still not hot shooting the ball and if can start knocking those three's down, we can score in the 60's and 70's."
Savannah Brothers, who led the Lady Rockets in the scoring with 18 points got things going with a rebound and put-back on Forrest's first possession.
After a couple of unsuccessful trips down the floor for both squads, the Lady Rockets did get hot from outside as Scarlett Roberson and Candace Daughrity drained back-to-back three-pointers, putting the blue and white up 8-0 and forcing a Huntland timeout with 4:54 remaining in the first quarter.
The Lady Hornets could not convert two free throws after the stoppage and Brothers did moments later, making it 10-zip.
Huntland could not buy a basket and the Lady Rockets made them pay as Roberson scored and after another Lady Hornets' brick, Hannah Phifer nailed a jumper in the lane to make it a 14-0 contest.
It looked like the Lady Rockets would hold Huntland scoreless, but a basket by Courtnee Mayes with 10.3 seconds left in the first period broke the Forrest shutout.
Mayes missed a pair of free throws at the outset of the second period before Brothers scored on a drive to the dish.
Huntland's Alexis Smith, who led all scorers in the contest with 20 points, finally got on the board for the Lady Hornets with a bucket in the low post.
After a Forrest missed shot, Smith scored on a three-point play in the paint.
Another Forrest miss gave the ball back to Huntland, but a Caitlyn Yost block led to an Amanda Chumbley basket in the low post, making it 18-7.
Smith converted another three-point play in the post, cutting the lead to eight points.
Brothers would hit one free throw moments later, and after Chumbley came up with a tie-up on the floor, Phifer drilled a jumper to open up a 21-10 Forrest lead.
Smith would score on a rebound and put-back before the Lady Rockets went off again with Brothers netting the next five points, including a three-bomb from deep to increase the lead to 26-12.
A Yost basket, followed by a Chumbley bucket in the paint to end the second quarter gave FHS a big 30-12 halftime lead.
"Chum did a great job tonight," said Jean. "I have been on her for about a week and a half now, she has been a little down, but tonight she went against a big, strong post player and did a great job."
The Lady Rockets stretched their lead out early in the third quarter as Yost stole the ball from Huntland on their first possession and scored at the other end.
Kirston Holder and Phifer would hit single free throws before a Smith basket, but the Lady Rockets would eventually open up a 20-point lead at 38-18.
Smith and Chumbley traded baskets down low and another Yost steal and dish to Brothers made it a 42-20 ballgame before Huntland was able to make it a little closer, narrowing the lead slightly to 19-points, entering the fianl eight minutes.
It was lights out, party over for Huntland to begin the fourth quarter as Yost scored on back-to-back touches for Forrest before Roberson stuck in the dagger with a three-point play in the paint, making it way out of reach for Huntland at 50-24.
Forrest cruised home from there in the 23-point victory, setting up a date with the Lady Champions in Monday night's second round.
Top-seeded Moore County took on fourth-seeded Community in the top of the tournament bracket.
Roberson ended up in double figures for Forrest with 10 points versus Huntland, while Yost scored nine, Chumbley ended up with six, Daughrity and Phifer scored five points apiece, Hannah Evans chipped in with a deuce, and Hailey Collins and Holder had one marker each.