Setbacks knock Lady Rockets from state poll

Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Caitlin Yost (11) gives Forrest a 36-35 lead in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Rockets could not hold on, losing 44-41 at Eagleville Friday night. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Lady Rockets began last week ranked No. 9 in the AP Poll, but a pair of road losses at Huntland on Tuesday and at Eagleville on Friday put them in fifth place in the District 9A standings and off the pollsters' radar.

"This is the way we have played since Christmas, we haven't played very well and it showed," said Forrest head coach Jeremy Jean. "Teams have punched in the face and we just took it."

Fading away

Forrest ran into a buzz saw at Eagleville, falling behind a determined Lady Eagles squad 15-6 after the first quarter.

Eagleville played some tough defense and forced a myriad of bad shots and turnovers by Forrest in the second quarter.

The Lady Eagles also did not slow down on offense, scoring the first 10 points in the quarter, ballooning their lead to 25-6 after Alli Burns hit both ends of a one-and-one situation versus the foul plagued Lady Rockets.

Tamia Northcutt got Forrest on the board and Savannah Brothers followed with a basket moments later, making it a 25-10 contest.

Big chill

Both squads would go cold on offense over the next several minutes until Burns made two more free throws, extending Eagleville's lead to 27-10.

Caitlin Yost and Kyleigh Cobb swapped buckets before Forrest scored the final three points of the first half on one Haily Collins free throw and a Sierra Waggoner basket, making it 29-15 at the break.

Forrest outscored Eagleville 9-6 in a low scoring third quarter, cutting the Lady Eagles' lead to 35-24, entering the final eight minutes of play.

Waggoner drilled a 3-pointer at the outset of the fourth quarter, beginning a furious rally for Forrest that saw the Lady Rockets outscore Eagleville 12-0 over the first five minutes of the final stanza.

Finally, a lead

A Yost rebound and put-back with three minutes to go in the contest completed the run, giving Forrest their first lead since 1-0 at the beginning of the game.

Cobb scored for Eagleville, but Yost hit two free throws with 2:02 remaining in the game, making it 38-37 Forrest.

Kristin Barnes came up huge for the Lady Eagles at the other end, draining a long 3-pointer that put the hometown girls back in front.

Forrest escaped some serious damage when Eagleville could not convert free throws after an intention foul with 50.4 seconds remaining, but one free throw on an ensuing foul made it a three-point game.

Hannah Evans scored to keep the Eagleville lead at a single digit, but Forrest would not score again in the game, losing by the three-point margin.

Wanted: Fighters

"Right now I'm looking for fighters and I don't have many out there, I got to have somebody, anybody to step up and get the ball," said Jean. "It's not the end of the season, but if we don't turn it around it will keep happening."

Sierra Waggoner (20) tried to spark Forrest with a couple of 3-pointers, but it was not enough as the Lady Rockets lost their second District 9A game in a row.

Yost had 18 points to lead Forrest (15-5, 2-4) in the scoring column, while Waggoner netted eight, Brothers added six points, Evans had five, Northcutt tallied a deuce, and Collins and Margaret Bryan had one point each.

"We just have to play the next game," said Jean. "With four losses, first or second is out of the question, so we just to win all we can, keep getting better, and jockey for good position in the tournament."

Burns scored 17 points for Eagleville (11-9, 1-4), Cobb added a dozen, Barnes scored five, Taylor Turnage tallied four, Shi Knox had one trey, Taylor Reed netted two points, and Chelsea Scott rounded out the scoring with one point.