FMS hands Cascade huge upset
The FMS Lady Rockets suffered their worst two defeats of the regular season at the hands of Cascade, but on Monday Forrest got revenge in a big way, eliminating the No. 2 seeded Lady Champions from the Duck River Valley Conference Tournament via a 39-27 win.
"It was big win for us, I'm very proud of our young ladies tonight," said Forrest head coach David Junkins.
To the semis
With the win, FMS (10-10) earned a trip to the tournament semifinals Thursday night where the No. 10 seeded Lady Rockets will play the winner of Wednesday's second-round game that pits No. 3 Community versus No. 6 Moore County.
"Our two worse losses this year were to Cascade during the regular season and I was sitting in the stands for both ballgames and it wasn't very pretty," said Junkins. "We knew if we could come in here and win this ballgame, it kind of resets things for us and we are going to try our best to bring the World Championship back to Chapel Hill."
Things did not start out well for FMS on Monday, falling behind 11-5 after the first quarter and by eight points midway through the second period on a Carmen Ray jumper.
Forrest's Stevie Ray and Cascade's Carmen Ray traded baskets before Ray scored again for FMS and Sydney Hill ended the first half with a rebound and put-back in the paint for the Lady Rockets, who trailed 17-13 at the halftime break.
Hill, who led all scorers in the game with 19 points, scored to open the second half and followed with two free throws, tying the game at 17.
Cascade, who forced a bucket load of FMS turnovers in the first half, began to fumble the ball away and Ally Blanton made them pay, drilling a 3-pointer from the corner, putting Forrest in front 20-17.
Hayleigh Crouch hit one free throw for the Lady Champions and than the entire momentum swing went into full force for the Lady Rockets, who found a way to break the Cascade press time after time and get easy buckets in the paint.
"At halftime coach (Randy) Toombs suggested a variation of what we worked on against the press and they were cheating in the middle, so we looked up the sidelines," said Junkins. "Ally, Micah, and Anna took it up the sidelines several times and got it into the high post and low post and we got nice layups out of it."
Ray scored off the break with 2:12 remaining in the third quarter before Emily Yost made a layup after a broken press, making it 24-18.
Pouring in points
Cascade was rattled and after the Lady Rockets took control of a tie-up, Ally Blanton drove to the hoop for two more points and Yost scored in the paint after another clean break of the press, giving FMS a 28-18 lead, entering the final six minutes of play.
Forrest poured it on to begin the fourth period as Hill scored twice, and Kayla Gillespie scored, putting Forrest up 34-18 and forcing a Cascade timeout with 4:32 remaining in the contest.
The Lady Champs finally got some offense going as they reeled off seven straight points to slice the Forrest lead to nine at 34-25 with three and a half minutes left.
Cascade missed the front end of a one-and-one situation from the free-throw line moments later before Micah Toombs calmly drilled two foul shots for Forrest with 2:56 remaining.
After a Cascade missed shot, Hill scored over the top again and Toombs hit one more charity shot, putting the game on ice and sending the Lady Rockets on to the semis, while ending Cascade's season.
Stevie Ray contributed six points for FMS, while Ally Blanton had five, Yost scored four, Toombs had three points, and Kayla Gillespie rounded out the Lady Rockets' scoring with a deuce.
"It was a team effort tonight, but our posts were better than their posts I felt, so we really tried to get the ball to Sydney, Stevie, and Emily when she was in there," said Junkins.
Carmen Ray led the Lady Champs in the scoring column with eight points, while Brook Suddath had six, Keely Sutton added five points, and Hayleigh Crouch and Jacey Parker netted four points apiece.