Rockets hang on against Huntland

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Forrest's Blake Leonard scores on a layup over Huntland's Kevin Jernigan in the first quarter. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

The Forrest Rockets snapped a two-game losing streak on Monday night by defeating Huntland 54-50 at home to record their third straight victory over the Hornets

Forrest (8-14, 5-3 District) appeared to have the game well in hand after building a 44-30 lead midway through the third quarter, but Huntland (6-14, 1-8 District) came storming back and used a 20-6 run to knot the score at 50-50 with 2:06 left in the fourth period.

The Rockets, however, regained their composure during crunch time and tallied the final four points of the game on layups by center Blake Leonard and shooting guard Will Edmondson while holding the Hornets scoreless on their final five possessions of the contest to claim the hard fought win.

Tighter defense

"I hate to be in that situation after having a double digit lead in the second half, but we tightened up defensively and forced them to take tough shots at the end of the game. It was a good way to close it out at least," said FHS coach Wes Hobbs.

Bolstered by a 10-of-14 shooting performance in the first quarter, the Rockets shot 44 percent (22-of-50) from the field overall, which included a 3-of-11 effort from three-point range.

Leonard led Forrest's offensive attack by pouring in a game high 19 points on 9-18 shooting. Edmondson followed Leonard with 17 points, and Jacob Daughrity tallied eight points, six assists, and three steals. Lucas Pruitt also added six points for the Rockets, while Colton Cook and Kennedy Mathis chipped in three and one point respectively with Mathis recording eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals.

"Blake is doing a great job of finishing. He's using his body and playing strong inside," said Hobbs.

Although the Hornets knocked down 7-of-20 attempts from beyond the arc, they finished with a modest 17 field goals on 36 percent shooting. Huntland did outrebound FHS 27-22 and held an 8-5 advantage on the offensive glass, but committed five more turnovers (14-9) than the Rockets.

Kobe Foster paced the Hornets with 20 points, while Rahul Patel added nine points. Justin Sells notched eight points for the Hornets as well and Tyler Smith had six points.

Rockets roar back

Forrest's Lucas Pruitt shoots a layup while being fouled by Huntland's Kobe Foster in the third quarter.

Huntland took an early 2-0 lead on an offensive put back by Sells before the Rockets outscored the Hornets 17-10 over the next 5:35 on the strength of five points from Leonard and four points apiece from Daughrity and Pruitt to seize a 17-12 advantage late in the first quarter.

After Foster canned a three to narrow the gap to 17-15, Forrest put together a 12-4 run with the help of six points from Leonard and five points from Edmondson to push their lead to 29-19 early in the second period.

Foster and Patel drained consecutive treys to cut the deficit to 29-25, but the Rockets tallied eight of the last 10 points of the first half thanks to an Edmondson three, a free throw from Mathis, and pair of layups from Leonard and Daughrity to take a 37-27 advantage into the break.

Forrest outscored the Hornets 7-3 through the first 4:38 of the third quarter behind five points from Edmondson to forge a 44-30 lead before Huntland rattled off eight straight points to close the gap to 44-38 at the end of the stanza.

Late threat

The Rockets stretched their lead to 48-40 early in the fourth period with the aid of two baskets from Leonard, but the Hornets responded with a 10-2 spurt to tie the game at 50-50.

Forrest pulled ahead 52-50 on a layup by Leonard before Edmondson made a steal and a layup with :24 left to give FHS a 54-50 advantage.

Huntland then sealed their fate by missing two threes and committing a turnover on their final three possessions.