Rockets beat Cougars, stay unbeaten in conference

Friday, November 7, 2014
Dylan Jones (32) muscles in two of his 12 points in the Rockets' 45-36 win over MTCS Tuesday night in Chapel Hill. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The FMS Rockets faced their stiffest conference test of the season Tuesday night in Chapel Hill, taking on a talented Middle Tennessee Christian School squad in a battle that was tightly contested until Forrest came up with a big fourth quarter that sealed a 45-36 victory.

Forrest (10-4, 6-0) remained unbeaten in conference play on the season, but it was the Cougars who came into the game unbeaten and inspired from the out- set, leading the Rockets 10-8 after the first six minutes of play.

Tight clash

Jaylan Wetzel scored for MTCS to begin period No. 2, but a Josh Meglis three-bomb got the Rockets going as Daniil Yatskov scored at the other end, and after an MTCS miscue with the ball, Ryley McClaran drove to the hoop for two more points, giving FMS a 15-13 lead.

Not to be outdone, Ben Phillips drained a three-bomb at the other end for the Cougars, who would eek ahead 17-16 moments later.

Yatskov knocked down a rebound and put-back for Forrest and after an MTCS missed shot, Yatskov crashed the boards again and was fouled, leading to a pair of free throws to give the Rockets a 20-17 lead.

Sam Peterson scored to make it a one-point game again before Yatskov pounded home another bucket in the paint.

Close one

Wetzel went to the other end for MTCS, raining home a three- pointer, making it a 22-21 contest before Cole Villazon ended the first half with one made charity shot for FMS.

Forrest would still lead at 25-24 midway through the third quarter before the Cougars got hot as Philips nailed a jumper and after a Forrest bobble, Wetzel went downtown again, giving the visitors a 29-25 lead.

Daniil Yatskov (30) makes a nice move in the paint for a fourth-quarter bucket.

The Rockets went to the long ball as well when McClaran busted two bombs late in the period, putting Forrest in front 31-29, entering the final six minutes of play.

With MTCS looking out, Forrest went in as Yatskov and Dylan Jones split eight points due to some heavy work in the paint, pushing the Rockets out in front by 10 points at 39-29. Middle would come back again, going on a 7-0 run, capped off by a steal and score by Evan Alford with under a minute to play in the contest.

Rockets take over

With the Rockets leading by three points at 39-36, a missed Forrest foul shot was put back in by Yatskov and after a Cougar missed shot, McClaran nailed both ends of a one-and-one from the free-throw line and did it again with 13.7 seconds left to secure the 45-36 win.

McClaran led the Rockets in scoring with 15 points, while Yatskov scored 14, Jones added a half dozen, Meglis had the one trey, and Villazon rounded out the FMS scoring with one point.

Phillips joined McClaran with 15 points and game-high scoring honors, while Wetzel pumped in 12 points, Alford had four, Jackson Green and Peterson added a deuce apiece, and Mason Williams notched a single marker for the Cougars (6-1).