Lady Rockets survive first-round scare

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Savannah Brothers (21) takes the rock strong to the dish in the fourth quarter in Forrest's eight-point win over the Lady Hornets. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Lady Rockets survived a fourth quarter sting before coming away with a 53-45 win over the Huntland Lady Hornets in Friday night's opening round of the District 9-A Tournament at Community.

"It was a good game for us, but our mistakes led to their points," said Forrest head coach Jeremy Jean. "When things got tight, we reverted back to I gotta do it all by myself on offense and defense and that is something we have to get better at."

With the win, Forrest (19-10) secured a berth in the Region 5-A Tournament and can play for the league title and host round one in the region with a win over MTCS on Monday.

'Ugly win' works

"I told them after the game that an ugly win is better than a pretty loss at this point," said Jean. "But we have to play a lot better on Monday or it won't be a win."

The Lady Rockets tried to run away and hide from Huntland early, going up 8-0 after the first three minutes of the game before the Lady Hornets stormed back, outscoring Forrest 11-2 the remainder of the period.

With game tied at 13 early in the second quarter, Hannah Evans scored a fast break basket off a pass from Kirston Holder and Caitlyn Yost followed with a steal that led to two made free throws by the freshman, making it 17-13.

Morgan Sims came up with a 3-pointer for Huntland before Forrest went on an 8-2 mini-run behind a pair of treys by Yost and an Evans bucket to take a 25-18 lead and the first half would end with Forrest still maintaining the seven-point margin 29-22.

Huntland comeback

Huntland's Ali Golden, who led all scorers in the contest with 23 points, drilled a three-pointer to begin the second half and Michaela Clark followed with a another long bomb, cutting the Forrest lead to 29-28.

After a Lady Rocket missed shot, Huntland took the lead on a Holly Wortham rebound and put-back.

The lead would exchange hands before being knotted at 33, but a three-point play by Savannah Brothers put Forrest up by three points at the two-minute mark of the third quarter.

The Lady Rockets entered the final eight minutes of play with a 40-36 lead, but Huntland came back in a hurry on back-to-back buckets by Caylee McClennan and Golden.

Forrest's Hailey Collins (14) knocks down an off-balance jumper in the first half of the Lady Rockets' first round district tournament win over Huntland Friday night.

Forrest takes lead

The game would remain tied after Evans and Golden traded baskets before Huntland got the ball back moments later and Jean called timeout with 5:42 remaining in the contest.

After the stoppage, the Lady Hornets coughed it up and Yost scored on a rebound and put-back.

Over the next three minutes, Huntland would miss an opportunity to take back the lead on some errant free throw shooting before Brothers drained both ends of a one and one with 2:43 left in the contest, putting Forrest up 46-42.

Golden answered again, throwing down a bank shot three-ball, cutting the Lady Rockets' lead to one point with less than two minutes to go.

Key turnovers

Huntland had a couple of chances to edge in front after Forrest misses, but turned the ball over twice with the second miscue leading to a pair of Evans' free throws with 51.8 seconds remaining in the game.

After a Lady Hornets missed shot, the final blow came when Yost made the first of two free throws and on the unsuccessful second attempt, Kyleah Hengesbach snuck in for the rebound and put-back, sealing the deal for the Lady Rockets in the eight-point win.

Yost had 15 points to lead the Lady Rockets in the scoring column, while Brothers and Evans were also in double figures with 14 and 12 points respectively.

Hailey Collins and Holder netted four apiece and Hengesbach and Sierra Waggoner finished with a deuce each.