FMS Rockets win 3rd straight

Friday, October 25, 2013
Jacob Rich (22) led the Rockets in the scoring column with 10 points, including this firs-half runner. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The FMS Rockets made it three wins in row to continue their early season hot streak, holding off a late Westwood comeback to win 33-26 in Tuesday night's home opener.

"A win always feels good, rather in a row or not, but this has been a nice run and the boys seem to be enjoying it," said FMS head coach Randy Toombs.

Forrest also seems to enjoy starting from behind as Westwood led 10-5 after the first quarter before the hometown Rockets turned the table on their namesakes, outscoring the Manchester squad 13-2 in the second period.

Daniil Yatskov (24) knocks down a short jumper in the lane for the Rockets, which beat Westwood 33-26 in Chapel Hill Tuesday night.

Roaring back

Jacob Rich, who led the Rockets in scoring with 11 points, opened the second quarter scoring and after a defensive stop, Dylan Jones cut the Westwood lead to one point after converting off an assist by Rich.

Marcus Pendalton netted Westwood's only basket of the quarter to make it a 12-9 ballgame, but a Dustin Brashear missile from three-land tied the game at a dozen apiece with 3:28 remaining in the first half.

"The slow starts seem to be our M.O. right now, but as long as it works, I'm good with it," said Toombs.

Daniil Yatskov broke the knot with a low post move to make it 14-12 and after a Westwood turnover, Ty Hengesbach went to the dish for a score to open up a four-point FMS lead.

Strong defense

The FMS defense forced Westwood into three turnovers and a bucket full of bad shots over the next two minutes before Yatskov went to the free throw line after being fouled on a pretty, low post move late in the period.

Yatskov made both charity shots to give the Rockets an 18-12 lead at the half.

"These guys are learning the game and applying it," said Toombs. "It's fun to watch the kids grow like that."

FMS won a low scoring third quarter and led 25-16, going into the final six minutes of play.

A Rich bucket to open the fourth quarter made it a 27-16 ballgame and all looked good for Forrest, but Westwood had other ideas.

Comeback

Westwood would mount a serious comeback, slicing and dicing into the Forrest lead until a Justin Jones steal and score made it a three-point game at 29-26 with a minute and a half to go in the contest.

"The cushion was nice, but I wished we could have put them away," said Toombs. "We had too many turnovers in the fourth quarter and it gave them a small window to get close."

Hengesbach went to the free throw line for a one and one with a minute to go and his first shot spun off the rim and into the hands of a waiting Yatskov, who kissed the ball back off the glass and in, making it 31-26 with 42 ticks left on the clock.

Westwood called timeout with 21.8 seconds remaining, but the stoppage plan was spoiled on a missed shot, followed by two clutch free throws by Rich.

Key shots

"Those free throws were big again and we connected on what we needed down the stretch," said Toombs. "Bottom line is, we did what we needed to do to finish and I am very proud of them."

Westwood would not get a shot off and the buzzer sounded to end the game as FMS improved to 3-1 on the season.

"After the game I told them I was very proud of the way they did what it took to finish on top, but now get ready for Community on Thursday," said Toombs.

Jones ended up with a half dozen points, Yatskov netted 5, Hengesbach tallied four, Brashear had the one trey, and Alex Huey and Dylan Watt had two points apiece for Forrest.