Rockets settle for 9-A consolation prize

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Lucas Pruitt (42) scores in the low post for the Rockets, who fell 72-70 to MTCS in the District 9-A semifinals at Motlow State Community College Monday night. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Forrest was in search of win No. 20 on the season and a spot in the District 9-A title game, but instead had to settle for a consolation prize after MTCS held on to beat the Rockets 72-70 in a semifinal match-up Monday night at Motlow State Community College.

The Rockets rode into Lynchburg on a six-game winning streak and after a slow start, Forrest came back from an early 9-2 deficit in the first quarter to lead 14-11 after the first eight minutes.

Jacob Daughrity scored eight points on two treys and two free throws to lead the Forrest comeback, while Ty Hoeft drilled a buzzer-beating three-bomb to put the Cougars down by the three-point margin.

Tyler "Juice" Rumley hit two charity shots to keep the Rockets going to begin the second quarter.

Middle Tennessee Christian School still trailed by five points at 19-14 after a Zach Horvath basket off a Kennedy Mathis assist at the 6:49 mark of the period before MTCS surged forward, outscoring the Rockets 11-0 on the backs of Derrick Spears, who netted seven in the run, while Ty Hageman helped the Cougars cause with four points.

Dakota Zimmerman stopped the bleeding for the Rockets with a basket to make it a 25-21 ballgame before MTCS surged ahead once more to lead by as much as seven points at 35-28.

A Mark Pope three-bomb, followed by a MTCS miscue and two free throws by Pope cut the MTCS lead to 35-33, but Spears ended the first half with a jumper and the Cougars took a 37-33 margin to the locker room.

Zach Horvath (4) pulls up for two of his eight points in the Rockets' loss to MTCS Monday night, sending Forrest on the road in the first round of the Region 5-A Tournament next week.

Spears kicked off the second half with a basket, but Forrest got a three-pointer by Rumley and after a Cougar turnover, Horvath scored in the lane to make it a one-point contest at 39-38.

With 1:33 remaining in the third quarter and the Rockets trailing by three points, MTCS had the ball with a chance to move forward, but Daughrity stole the ball and scored at the other end, keeping the game at the slimmest of margins, 48-47.

MTCS would not let the Rockets gain any more ground in the quarter as they went on a 7-1 run to end the third period with a 55-48 lead.

The Cougars led 58-51 and had the rock when Pope swiped it and fed Horvath for a score, forcing an MTCS timeout with 5:10 remaining in the game.

Moments later, Rumley scored on a pull-up jumper in the lane, cutting the MTCS lead to 58-55, but once again, the Cougars held firm and pushed their lead up to eight points with two minutes left in the semifinal.

Rumley scored to keep the Rockets going and after Spears missed the front end of a one-and-one, Daughrity converted a three-point play on a drive to dish, making it 66-63 with 1:16 left in the game.

The Cougars called timeout after the Daughrity bucket and the Rockets proceeded to cough the ball up and this time Spears made them pay for their mistake, draining both ends of a one-and-one with 37.8 seconds left.

Rumley scored 17 seconds later for Forrest and Spears hit two more crucial free throws before Zimmerman scored to make it a 70-67 ballgame as the Rockets called timeout with just 6.5 seconds left in the contest.

The Rockets could not come up with a steal on the inbounds play and had to foul Spears, who nailed two more free throws, extending the Cougars' lead to five points at 72-67 before Rumley hit a trey at the buzzer to make the final score 72-70.

The Rockets will take on Community in Friday night's consolation game as the Vikings fell to Eagleville 51-46 in Monday night's nightcap.

Spears led the Cougars in the scoring column with 22 points.

Rumley also had 22 points in the contest to lead the Rockets, while Daughrity netted 13, Pope had nine before leaving in the fourth quarter with a twisted ankle, Horvath scored eight, Hoeft added seven, Zimmerman had six points, Lucas Pruitt scored four in the low post, and Mathis had one free throw.