FMS Rockets take DRVC title
The FMS Rockets started the New Year where they left off the old, continuing their domination with a 48-41 win at Liberty Monday night that clinched the regular season Duck River Valley Conference title.
Forrest (17-4, 17-0) can cap off a perfect regular season conference slate with a win in Lynchburg Thursday night.
The Rockets also clinched the No. 1 seed and a first round bye in the upcoming World Tournament that commences Saturday in Chapel Hill.
FMS fell behind early to the determined Patriot squad Monday, trailing 10-6 before Ryley McClaran got things going for the Rockets, nailing a 3-pointer with three minutes to go in the first quarter.
Dylan Jones followed with a basket in the paint to put the Rockets in front and McClaran scored on a drive to the hoop after a Liberty missed shot, making it 13-10.
With less than a minute to play in the first period, Daniil Yatskov capped off the 9-0 run with a bucket in the paint, giving FMS a five-point lead.
Alex Freeman scored for Liberty to open the second quarter and John Brady followed with a trey, tying the contest at 15-15.
The Patriots would hang tough, trailing 21-19 late, but a 3-pointer by Josh Meglis and a drive to the hoop and score by Ty Hengesbach in the waning seconds of the first half put the Rockets up 26-19.
Brady drilled a 3-pointer to open the second half before the Rockets surged again, going on a huge 15-0 run that gave Forrest a 40-22 lead.
Meglis and McClaran both came up with three bombs during the run that was halted by a Darius Ransom bucket to end the third quarter.
Brady made it a 41-27 contest with a three-point play in the paint and Bradley Houston followed with a long range 3-pointer, cutting the FMS lead to 11 points at 41-30 at the outset of the final six minutes.
With 2:01 remaining in the contest, Houston scored to slice the FMS lead to six points at 44-38, but both squads could not manage a field goal as time wound down.
Hengesbach converted both ends of a one-and-one with 6.9 seconds left in the game and the Rockets held on for the seven-point victory.
McClaran led the Rockets in the scoring column with 14 points, while Yatskov added 13, Jones scored nine points, and Meglis and Hengesbach both tallied a half dozen apiece.
Brady had 14 points to lead Liberty, while Houston scored 13, Freeman added six points, and Ransom and Grayson Tramel added four points apiece.