Rockets' post-season run ends
Forrest's magical post-season run ended in Cross Plains Tuesday night as host East Robertson won 50-38 in the second of two Region 5-A semifinal contests, denying the Rockets a shot at a sub-state game for the first time since 1997.
"We made a run and fought the whole way through and that has been our team all year, fighting to the very end," said Forrest head coach Wes Hobbs. "I am proud of the guys and it has been a joy to coach them and to see this team develop and battle adversity all year long and come in at the end and make a run."
In the opener, Lead Academy beat Nashville Christian 58-50, pitting the two District 10-A opponents against each other in the region championship tilt on Thursday.
Cross Plains has an estimated population of 1,722 people residing in the community and it seemed like every one of the town's citizens were in the East Robertson gymnasium Tuesday night to support the Indians.
"It was good atmosphere to play ball," said Hobbs.
Forrest had a big travelling crowd in attendance as well and at the outset of the contest, the Rockets fell behind 5-2 before the Chapel Hill faithful spurred their team on.
Jacob Daughrity nailed a 3-pointer, tying the game at five before Marshall Wix scored on a traditional three-point play in the paint, putting the Indians up for good.
Daughrity cut the East Robertson lead to one point on a drive to the hoop, but the Rockets would begin to turn the ball over and the Indians made them pay, going on a 10-0 run to end the first quarter, including back-to-back three's by Lane Eden and Marquece Bell that lit the fuse for the East Robertson faithful.
Daughrity hit a trey early in the second period to make it an eight-point game before the turnover bug bit Forrest, denying them a chance to get back in the game.
Forrest would score just a single point for the remainder of the first half, but thankfully, the Indians only scored three points in the quarter and the Rockets trailed 21-11 at the break.
Lucas Pruitt scored in the low post to begin the second half and an Indian miscue led to a Will Edmondson bucket, cutting the East Robertson lead to six points.
Two Forrest turnovers gave the Indians five points right back, making it a 26-15 ballgame before Pruitt scored again.
Forrest made a mini-run to keep it close as Blake Leonard scored in the paint and Ty Hoeft hit two free throws to make it 28-21, while the Indians did not score for the last four minutes of the third quarter.
Bell halted the East Robertson drought with a steal and score to start the final eight minutes of play, but Edmondson went downtown for the Rockets, slicing the deficit to six points.
Bell scored and then stole the ball moments later and hit one free throw and the Rockets coughed the ball up again.
Kennedy Mathis negated the turnover with a steal and score and then the game got crazy as Forrest tried their best to come back, but every time they did, Bell answered the call.
Bell steps up
After an Indian turnover, Edmondson nailed a trey to cut the East Robertson lead to four points, but Bell scored at the other end.
Daughrity drilled another three-pointer, but Bell scored again, making it 38-32 with three minutes remaining in the game.
Mathis nailed a long missile to cut the lead back to three points before Edens matched the trey with 2:13 left in the contest to put the Indians in front 41-35.
From there, East Robertson put the game away with a 9-3 run to end the contest, ending the Rockets' season in the 12-point loss.
"We gave ourselves a chance there at the end and got a little momentum, but I think we sort of lost that at the end," said Hobbs.
Daughrity was the lone Forrest player in double figures in the scoring column with 11 points, while Edmondson had eight, Pruitt scored six, Mathis and Leonard tallied five points apiece, and Hoeft added three points.
Bell led all scorers in the game with 15 points for East Robertson, Wix had 14, Eden added nine, Lane Murphy scored eight, and Seth Stroud rounded out the Indians' scoring with four points.