Rockets top Cougars in huge road win
The Forrest Rockets needed a signature win to gain that late season momentum and they got it Tuesday night in Murfreesboro, upsetting third-ranked Middle Tennessee Christian School 66-56.
"This was probably the best overall game that we have played this season," said Forrest head coach Wes Hobbs. "The guys came out with toughness and a grit that was hard to match. I really saw that purpose in their eyes. With all of the injuries, the different line-ups, the close-game losses when we played well, and the ups and downs that we have had this season, the guys really deserved to get this win."
With the win, the Rockets tightened up the standings in District 9-A, while remaining in second place, just one game behind the Cougars (17-2, 5-1) and Fayetteville (12-6, 7-1).
Forrest (7-12, 4-2) started strong, doubling up the Cougars 16-8 after the first eight minutes.
MTCS came back to win the second quarter 18-14 and to trail by four points at the half, but the Rockets held on to the lead by one point, 42-41, entering the final eight minutes.
Then the Rockets turned on the afterburners, blitzing the Cougars with 24 fourth-quarter points, including 10 by Jacob Daughrity and 7 by Will Edmondson to take home the 10-point victory.
"We had a great final quarter," said Hobbs. "There was a time when we had a lead toward the end that I was hoping to slow the pace and run some clock, but our guys kept attacking. On a night like last night when our shots were falling and we had the momentum, I decided to step back and let them go."
Edmondson ended up with a monster game, pouring in 26 points, including five 3-pointers to lead all scorers in the contest.
"This was by far, Will Edmondson's breakout game," said Hobbs. "Another aspect of Will's game that will not show up on the stat sheet was the job he did on the defensive end guarding one of MTCS's best weapons. Ben Brown is an unbelievable player and he got very few open looks tonight because of Will's defense."
Daughrity was also in double figures for the Rockets with 16 points and the senior was clutch from the free-throw line, especially in the final period when he nailed four out of six down the stretch to keep the Cougars caged.
"Daughrity is what I call a "gamer," when the whistle blows to start the game, he goes into a competitive mode where he will do anything to help us win," said Hobbs. "His defense the last few ballgames has been outstanding, and his ball handling and drives to the basket tonight were crucial in helping us win."
Lucas Pruitt tallied a half dozen points for the Rockets, Kennedy Mathis, Blake Leonard, and Colton Cook added five notches apiece, and Caleb Hogan had a second quarter trey.
Forrest also did a yeoman's job on defense, holding MTCS standout Derrick Spears to just 14 points in the contest.
Brown led the Cougars in the scoring column with 17 points.
It won't be long before the two squads meet again as they will re-engage the tussle Saturday night in Chapel Hill in a make-up game from last week.
"Last night was a big win for our program, but I told the guys today that we have to forget it, just like we need to have a short-term memory when things don't go well for us, we need to forget when things do go well also," said Hobbs. "MTCS will be ready for revenge on Saturday and we will have to play an even better game next time."