Lady Rockets strike back
It never sat well with Forrest head coach Jeremy Jean, losing to Eagleville in Chapel Hill last year and his Lady Rockets made things right on Tuesday when they came away with a 60-51 win over the Lady Eagles in their District 9A home opener.
"Eagleville is always a tough game for us, with them being just down the road it adds something special to that game," said Jean. "And with them beating us on our home floor last year, I think made us play a little tight. I told the girls the same thing I say before every game, it's the biggest game of the year. The biggest game of the year is the one you are about to play."
Forrest picked up some balanced scoring in the contest as their two man scoring weapons stayed hot with Caitlin Yost pouring in 22 points, while Savannah Brothers added 17 for the Lady Rockets, who improved to 7-1 on the season.
"The thing with Yost and Brothers scoring those numbers last night is that they were efficient, they scored 39 points combined and were 13 for 24 from the floor," said Jean. "With them scoring like that it frees up others to get open shots and that is where Sierra is the beneficiary. She is knocking down some open shots, and a lot of the time they are big shots at big times."
Jean was talking about senior sniper Sierra Waggoner, who boosted the Lady Rockets with two huge second quarter 3-pointers during a stretch that saw Forrest take control of the game after a slow first quarter.
With 5:20 remaining in the second period, Forrest trailed 17-15 before Brothers nailed a trey to get things going.
Eagleville's Nicole Duke followed with a basket in the paint, but the Lady Rockets went off as Kyleah Hengesbach pumped in a short jumper and after an Eagleville missed shot, Waggoner went downtown from the visitor's corner, giving the Lady Rockets a 23-19 lead.
After an Eagleville miscue, Yost got into the long ball act with a 3-pointer, forcing a Lady Eagles' timeout with 2:45 remaining in the second quarter.
Allison Lynch responded with a 3-pointer for Eagleville, but Waggoner quieted the comeback with another deep 3-bomb, making it a 29-22 ballgame.
Ryleigh Cobb converted a three-point play the old-fashioned way for Eagleville before Brothers landed another missile at the bottom of the net and the first half ended with Yost making two free throws after being fouled on a drive down Broadway, giving FHS a 34-25 lead.
"Eagleville made us play slow the first quarter and that played into their hands," said Jean. "When we got the game going at our speed we started to relax and play well."
With the outside ball working, Forrest began to get some room in the paint in the third quarter and took advantage on drives to the hoop.
Brothers scored on a rebound and put-back midway through the period to boost Forrest's lead to 10 points at 35-25, but Eagleville remained determined, slicing the lead back to single digits on two occasions late.
Yost would score on a jumper off an inbounds play with under a minute to go in the third quarter and after a Lady Eagles' miss at the other end, Margaret Bryan muscled home a bucket in the low post, giving the Lady Rockets a 43-31 lead, entering the final eight minutes of play.
Bryan would end up with a game-high 10 rebounds in the contest and Jean took notice of the senior post players' effort on the evening.
"Margaret played her most complete game of her career, she grabbed the boards, knocked down free throws, and kept her composure," said Jean.
Eagleville was not done yet though as they went on a 12-6 run to begin the fourth quarter, cutting the FHS lead to 49-43 with 3:30 remaining in the contest.
Brothers squelched any hope of a comeback, banging home another 3-pointer and the Lady Eagles would never get any nearer than seven points for the rest of the night as the Lady Rockets secured the 11-point win.
"Getting that opener especially a district home opener is a really good thing," said Jean. "I feel like in order to win the district a team is going to have to win all your home games. The district that we are in is the most competitive, top to bottom, that it has ever been and any team can beat you on any given night."
Waggoner ended up with seven points, Hengesbach and Hannah Evans added five points apiece, and Bryan rounded out the scoring with four points for Forrest, who will travel to Middle Tennessee Christian School Friday night for another 9A battle.
More work ahead
"My message after the game was to enjoy the win tonight, but come to practice tomorrow ready to work," said Jean. "MTCS is going to be a tough game, but it is winnable if we play our game."
Cobb led the Lady Eagles in the scoring column with 13 points, Lynch had 11, Knox added 10 points, Kristen Barnes contributed eight points, Duke scored six, Chelsea Scoot scored two, and Alli Barnes netted one marker in the contest.
Jean added, "I reiterated that the biggest reasons for our success is that we bust it at practice and we are unselfish. I really believe that the girls don't care who scores or who plays, what matters is that we have more points on the scoreboard than our opponent does at the end of the game. If we can continue that mindset, and keep distractions at a minimum we will be fine."