Vikes outgun Rockets in 9A consolation
Coming off a gut wrenching 72-70 loss to top seeded Middle Tennessee Christian School four days earlier, the Forrest Rockets (19-11) were forced to settle for a fourth place finish in the District 9-A tournament after losing 66-56 to the Community Vikings in the consolation finals on Friday night at Motlow State Community College.
Having split the regular season series against FHS, the Vikings (13-16) held a slender 30-29 lead at the end of the first half before outscoring the Rockets 36-27 over the final two quarters to take home the 10-point victory.
Due to Friday's loss, Forrest will go on the road and face District 10-A champ White House Heritage in the first round of the Region 5-A tournament on Saturday.
Although they committed only three turnovers in the contest and hit 8-of-13 field goal attempts in the first quarter, the Rockets shot only 36 percent (21-of-59) from the floor overall, which included a 6-of-19 effort from three-point range.
"Community has a lot of size and altered a lot of our shots. What was frustrating was that our energy didn't seem to be there tonight. That's the first time I've seen that this season," said FHS coach Wes Hobbs. "We have a long layoff before our next game so we'll have a good week of practice and get back to basics. We're going to go back to what got us here."
Senior guard Tyler Rumley led the Rockets by pouring in a game high 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting to go along with five rebounds and three assists. Mark Pope followed Rumley with 13 points, while Zach Horvath tallied 10 points and seven rebounds. Lucas Pruitt, Dakota Zimmerman, and Ty Hoeft rounded out the scoring for Forrest with five, two, and one point respectively.
Bolstered by a 15-of-22 shooting performance in the second half, the Vikings shot a blistering 57 percent (27-of-47) from the field despite hitting only 2-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc. Community also committed only 12 turnovers and outrebounded the Rockets 34-21.
"They are a good team and have some talent, but we didn't play well defensively and got beat off the dribble too much," said Hobbs. "They hit some shots, but a lot of them were close range shots because they were able to get the ball into the paint."
Tanner Simmons knocked down 9-of-11 field goal attempts and paced three Viking players in double figures with 21 points and 11 rebounds.. Blake Fanning notched 17 points for Community as well and Zeke Grissom added 14 points.
Forrest inched out to a 10-7 lead midway through the first quarter thanks to two treys from Pope and a pair of baskets from Horvath, but the Vikings went on a 9-3 run to pull ahead 16-13 with 2:25 left in the stanza.
The Rockets outscored Community 10-8 over the next 4:50 behind eight points from Rumley to cut the deficit to 24-23 early in the second quarter before Simmons notched two straight baskets to give the Vikings a 28-23 advantage.
After Rumley sandwiched a couple of threes around a Simmons layup to narrow the gap to 30-29 at halftime, the Vikings opened the third quarter with a 7-4 spurt to push their lead to 37-33.
Pope buried a trey from the right wing to slice the deficit to 37-36, but Community outscored FHS 8-2 over the next 3:30 to open up a 45-38 advantage late in the third quarter.
Following consecutive layups by Pope and Horvath, which closed the gap to 45-42 with 1:20 left in the third period, the Vikings put together an 11-6 run to stretch their lead to 56-48 midway through the fourth quarter.
Rumley knocked down a pair of jumpers to whittle the deficit to 56-52, but Community rattled off six straight points on two free throws by Logan Pierce and layups by Simmons and Fanning to forge a 62-52 lead with 1:25 left before claiming the 66-56 win.