Rockets outlast Cornersville for first win
Forrest hosted Cornersville Tuesday night in Chapel Hill and the two squads battled in a spirited game the entire night before the Rockets prevailed 55-42.
It was the first win of the year for Forrest, while the Bulldogs will be looking for their first win of the season at Moore County Friday night.
"It is always nice to get a win, but I'm most excited about our progression in correcting some of the mistakes we have made in the first couple of games," said Forrest head coach Wes Hobbs. "We simplified our game plan for this one, in hopes to make it easier on our more inexperienced players. I thought the more basic philosophy allowed us to play faster and have better flow on offense."
Forrest jumped out to an early 7-0 lead, capped off by a Will Edmondson 3-pointer, forcing a Cornersville timeout with 6:12 remaining in the first quarter.
David Looney scored for Cornersville after the stoppage, but the Rockets went on a 5-2 mini run to lead 12-4 with just over two minutes to play in the first quarter.
Tate Lowry responded with a basket for the Bulldogs before a technical foul sent Colton Cook to the free throw line where he made one of two.
Korbin Brown gave Forrest a 15-6 lead moments later, but a Jamie Crowell 3-pointer cut the Rockets' lead to 15-9 after the first eight minutes.
Looney made two foul shots to begin the second quarter and after a couple of Forrest missed shots, Crowell scored to slice the Rockets' lead to just two points at 15-13.
The Rockets used a pair of 3-pointers by Edmondson and Cook as part of a 13-2 run that sent Forrest to the halftime break with a 32-18 lead.
Forrest would go on to play some tough defense and control the boards as they built their lead to as many as 15 points on a Cook basket late in the third quarter.
"I think our defense was stronger this game as we did a better job with "help side" and controlling the boards, but we are going to continue to get better on that end of the floor," said Hobbs. "We take pride in that aspect of the game and it is something I want to continue to develop."
A couple of Tate Lowry baskets at the end of the period made it a 39-27 ballgame, entering what would be an exciting fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs clawed their way back into the game, slowly but surely, cutting the Forrest lead to seven points on a Looney layup with 1:56 remaining in the contest.
Several missed free throws by both teams kept the game close until a Caleb Hogan 3-pointer stretched the lead back to double digits at 50-40 with just under a minute to go in the contest.
Edmondson hit three free throws down the stretch to seal the 13-point win for the Rockets.
"I was happy with the effort and resiliency down the stretch of this game, you always want to see every free throw fall and no turnovers at the end of a game, but realistically you know that it will rarely be the case," said Hobbs. "It is how your team reacts and responds to those negative plays that can help you pull out a win. I thought we battled and made just enough plays down the stretch to keep the lead. I give a lot of credit to Cornersville. They always play hard, never quit, and they are going to scare some people this season."
Edmondson led the Rockets in the scoring column with 24 points, while Cook netted a dozen, Blake Leonard posted a half dozen, Brown ended up with five points, Hogan had the one trey, Jesse Pruitt and Austin Bailey netted a deuce apiece, and Donovan Murray had one point.
"Will Edmonson had a nice game scoring the basketball for us and made some big shots against the zone defense and Cook added 12 points on offense, but was also responsible for guarding Cornersville's top scorer," said Hobbs. "We have to look to our seniors and more experienced players during these early games, and it was nice to see these guys step up and make a difference for us."
Forrest will be looking to pick up win No. 2 on the season when the Rockets travel to Hobbs' alma mater at Richland on Friday night.
"Richland is going to be a very good team on Friday night, having graduated from there, I always enjoy going back and leading the Rockets on my old home court," said Hobbs. "They are well coached and they play extremely hard. We are going to continue to try and improve what we do, and then I feel the game outcomes will take care of themselves."
Lowry led all scorers in the contest with 27 points, while Looney scored 10 points, Michael Allen ended up with four points, Zack Smith netted three, and Crowell finished with two points.