Rockets clip Eagles, reach 9-A semifinals
The Forrest Rockets needed every ounce of team moxy and some late heroics by senior Ty Hoeft in a 44-39 win over long-time rival Eagleville in Saturday night's District 9-A Tournament opener at Community.
"It's always a battle with Eagleville and they always seem to step it up at tournament time," said Forrest head coach Wes Hobbs. "Our guys had to match their intensity and we made some shots down the stretch and made some defensive stops when we had to."
The win over the Eagles also guaranteed Forrest a spot in the upcoming Region 6-A Tournament with district championship contestants hosting first round satellite games before the remainder of the tournament moves to East Robertson High School.
"This gets us three more games, so it gives us another little mini-season and we are happy to move on," said Hobbs.
Forrest won the first two periods before surrendering the lead after a third quarter Eagleville comeback that featured a pair of Garrett Parker three-bombs, putting the Eagles up by four points, entering the final quarter of the season for one of the squads.
A Lucas Pruitt blocked shot on Eagleville's first touch of the fourth quarter was followed by Hoeft's three-bomb, lifting Forrest's spirits and the Rockets rode the momentum to victory and a semifinal match-up with top-seeded MTCS on Tuesday night.
"We've got another battle with MTCS and it's been a two-point game and we got them over at their place," said Hobbs. "So it's been close games both times and the guys always get real fired up to play them."
Pruitt gave the Rockets the lead at 31-30 on a bucket in the paint after the Hoeft 3 and an Eagle slip-up.
One free throw by Hoeft made it a 32-30 contest and after a Blake Leonard blocked shot, Hoeft scored on a runner in the lane, extending the Rockets' lead to four points.
Calen Parker finally got Eagleville on the board midway through the period before back-to-back buckets by Leonard and Will Edmondson pushed the FHS lead to six points at 38-32.
Parker would score four out of the next six points in the game, making it 40-36 and the Eagles had the ball after a Forrest turnover, but gave it right back to the Rockets via an offensive foul call with two minutes remaining in the game.
Leonard hit one of two from the free throw line before Hoeft came up with a steal in the backcourt and was subsequently tackled, leaving the officials no choice but to call an intentional foul.
Hoeft made one charity shot after the whistle, making it a six-point game and the Rockets went on to take their 10th straight win over Eagleville, dating back to Feb. 19, 2010.
Leonard tossed in a dozen points to lead the Rockets in the scoring column, while Hoeft netted 10 points, Lucas Pruitt added eight, and Edmondson and Jacob Daughrity chipped in with seven points apiece.
Calen Parker led all scorers in the game with 18 points for Eagleville.