Giles County holds off Rockets in Classic clash

Sunday, January 4, 2015
Forrest's (14) Austin Bailey shoots a runner while being fouled by Giles County's (21) Aspen Bush in the first quarter. Tribune photos by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

Although the Forrest Rockets (5-11) put up a good fight, they were unable to come away with a victory on Monday afternoon, as they dropped a 73-66 decision to the Giles County Bobcats at the Richland Christmas Classic.

Giles County (4-5) led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter before taking a 43-33 advantage into halftime, but the Rockets rallied to slice the deficit to 66-64 midway through the fourth period.

The Bobcats, however, staved off Forrest's upset bid by outscoring FHS 7-2 the rest of the way to escape with the seven-point victory.

Giles County forced 20 turnovers by the Rockets, but Forrest made the Bobcats pay when they broke their full court press cleanly and finished with 23 field goals on 58 percent shooting, which included a 3-of-9 effort from three-point range.

To the basket

"I was proud of the way our guys attacked the basket. Giles County got some steals off their press, but we also scored some easy baskets because our guys were aggressive and took the ball up strong," said FHS coach Wes Hobbs.

Forward Will Edmonson kept the Rockets within striking distance by pouring in a game high 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go along with seven rebounds.

Donavan Murray followed Edmonson with 16 points, while Jesse Pruitt and Blake Leonard tallied nine and eight points respectively. Noah Rumley notched four points as well, and Colton Cook and Korbin Brown chipped in two points apiece. Austin Bailey rounded out the scoring for Forrest with one point.

Giles County finished with 25 field goals on 42 percent shooting and knocked down 8-of-22 attempts from beyond the arc while committing only nine turnovers. The Bobcats also outrebounded the Rockets 30-27 and held a 15-5 edge on the offensive glass.

Hayden Miller canned four treys and paced four Giles County players in double figures with 16 points. Dontarius Gilbert tallied 15 points for the Bobcats as well, while Aspen Bush and Payton Hall added 12 and 10 points respectively.

Giles County got off to a fast start and raced out to a 12-4 lead midway through the first quarter.

Rocket run

Forrest's (32) Blake Leonard drives past Giles County's (24) Jordan Gilbert in the third quarter.

The Rockets went on a 7-2 run, capped by a Leonard three-point play, to narrow the gap to 14-11 late in the first period before the Bobcats tallied seven of the next nine points to open up a 21-13 advantage early in the second period.

Forrest outscored Giles County 9-4 over the next 3:18 with the help of four points from Murray to narrow the gap to 25-22, but the Bobcats responded with a 13-1 spurt to stretch their lead to 38-23 late in the half.

After ending the first half with a 10-5 run behind four points from Edmonson and a Murray trey to cut the deficit to 43-33, the Rockets notched the first eight points of the third quarter to close the gap to 43-41.

Giles County outscored FHS 17-7 over the next 4:32 to forge a 60-48 advantage late in the third period, but the Rockets engineered a 16-6 spurt on the strength of seven points from Edmonson and six points from Pruitt to whittle the deficit to 66-64 with 3:32 left in the fourth quarter.

The Bobcats, though, kept their cool during crunch time, as Dontarius Gilbert drained a trey from the top of the key before Bush hit a reverse layup to stretch Giles County's lead to 71-64.

Edmonson scored on layup to make it 71-66 with 2:00 remaining, but the Rockets came up empty on their final three possessions while Miller made two free throws to seal the Bobcats 73-66 win.