Rockets take 2 of 3 holiday games

Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Noah Rumley (2) bangs home a 3-pointer in the Rockets' 63-17 win over Hampshire Friday night in the Forrest Thanksgiving Tournament in Chapel Hill. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

Longtime rival Cascade beat Forrest 47-32 in Wednesday's Thanksgiving Tournament opener in Chapel Hill before the Rockets bounced back with wins over Hampshire and Culleoka to move to 3-4 on the season.

"It was nice to get a couple of wins to end the tournament, the guys needed to see some success and see how the work they are putting in can pay off when they play with a high motor," said Forrest head coach Wes Hobbs. "We were able to rotate a lot of players into the games and get some much needed experience for our team."

Cascade 47, Forrest 32

The Rockets fell behind early versus Cascade and could never mount a good enough threat to get back in the ballgame.

Cascade's Dacota Newcombe opened up the scoring in the contest for the Champions, who would lead 18-8 after the first quarter and 31-17 at the half in the coast-to-coast victory.

Jacob Jones led the Rockets in the scoring column with 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, while Will Edmondson had five points, Jesse Pruitt and Colton Cook managed four points apiece, Noah Rumley netted one 3-pointer, and Korbin Brown and Donovan Murray contributed with a deuce apiece.

"We didn't execute very well offensively, we only put up 32 points and struggled some with their match-up zone," said Hobbs. "We just didn't play with the fire that we needed to and got off to a slow start. We spent much of the game digging out of an early deficit. We played even with them the second half, but were too far behind by the break to make a comeback."

Forrest 53, Hampshire 17

The Rockets bounced back in a big way Friday night, blasting Hampshire 63-17 as Forrest had 10 payers in the scoring column in the contest.

"When you have a team where only five players have played any consistent varsity minutes, you cherish the opportunity to substitute and get our younger players some extended court time," said Hobbs. "This experience should pay off as we head into district play."

The Rockets outscored the Hawks 11-4 in the first quarter before blitzing Hampshire with 21 points and holding them to just three points with some solid defense in the second quarter, taking a commanding 32-7 halftime lead.

Jacob Jones (20) knocks home a rebound for a score versus Hampshire Friday night.

The rout was officially on in the third quarter when Forrest scored 25 points, extending their huge lead to 55-13 before coasting to the 46-point win.

It was the largest margin of victory for the Rockets in the Thanksgiving Tournament since a 77-10 win over Murfreesboro Central Magnet School on Nov. 26, 2010.

Blake Leonard, Edmondson, and Murray were all in double digits in the game with 10 points apiece, while Rumley scored nine, Jones scored seven, Brown added a half dozen, Tim Elliot had four points, Cook contributed three markers, and Pruitt and Austin Bailey had a deuce apiece.

"I thought that the team made some good progress in the tournament and I think our offense is still a few steps behind our defense, but to some extent that is to be expected early in the season," said Hobbs.

Forrest 54, Culleoka 20

In the tournament finale Saturday night, the Rockets made everyone's full stomach a little lighter as they came up with another lopsided 54-20 win over Culleoka.

The Rockets turned up the defensive pressure versus the Warriors, shutting out Culleoka 11-0 in the first quarter before taking a 25-8 halftime lead.

"As a coach, when you can hold teams to 47, 17, and 20 points over the three day event, you can't be too upset defensively," said Hobbs.

Once again Hobbs got a chance to go deep on the bench in the contest as 11 players notched points in the scorebook with Edmondson leading the way with 14 points.

Jones was also in double figures with 11 points, while Pruitt and Murray scored six each, Rumley had four, Leonard, Jacob Rich, and Elliot all had two points apiece, and Korbin and Hogan added one charity toss apiece for the Rockets.

The Rockets now turn to the meat of the schedule with the beginning of the District 9A slate, hoping for a good December run that will put them in position for the New Year's push to the post-season.

"We had a team meeting about how the grind is about to start in district play where there is never an off night and you have to play hard and execute in every game or you will lose," said Hobbs. "That is what makes 9A so entertaining, I wouldn't want to play in any other district. As every team begins playing in the district, we will start to get a feel for the toughest teams and you have to teach your team to be mentally tough and have a short term memory whether you win or lose."