Forrest squeaks by Fayetteville in OT
Hannah Evans saved the Lady Rockets from defeat Tuesday night in Fayetteville, draining two free throws with 40 seconds remaining in overtime to secure a 64-62 win.
"This will help us be stronger, we need this kind of game come tournament time," said Evans. "We are going to need this experience, because all the games at tournament time will be close."
Freshman DJ Horton poured in 31 points for Fayetteville, who came into the game 0-6 all-time versus Forrest.
"She played a solid game, she could not miss and that made her really hard to guard," said Forrest's Caitlin Yost.
The Lady Rockets fell behind 11-8 five minutes into the contest before a steal and score by Yost sparked an 8-0 run to end the first quarter.
Midway through the second period, two Savannah Brothers' free throws extended Forrest's lead to seven points and with two minutes remaining in the first half, a Sierra Waggoner swipe and score gave the Lady Rockets a 29-20 lead.
A Tamia Baker basket, followed by a rebound and put-back by Horton at the buzzer cut the Forrest lead to five points at the halftime break.
Evans opened up the scoring in the third period and a Yost rebound and score, plus one Yost free throw moments later gave the Lady Rockets their biggest lead of the night at 34-24.
Fayetteville got hot, going on a 15-6 run that was capped off by a Baker basket, slicing the Forrest lead to a single point before Yost scored with three seconds remaining, making it a 42-39 contest entering the fourth quarter.
An Evans bucket in the low post with 3:08 remaining in the period doubled the Forrest lead to six points.
There was no scoring by either squad until a Horton three-bomb with 1:56 left cut the deficit to three points.
Evans drained both ends of a one-and-one opportunity from the free-throw line, and after a Fayetteville turnover, Sierra Waggoner hit a pull-up jumper in the lane, giving Forrest a 56-49 lead with 50 seconds left.
Horton single-handedly brought the Lady Tigers back, hitting back-to-back buckets to cut the lead to three points.
Forrest missed the front end of a one-and-one with 15 seconds remaining in the fourth period, setting up a game-tying 3-pointer by Horton with four seconds remaining in the game.
Forrest would not get a good shot off before the buzzer, sending the game to overtime tied at 56-56.
"When she made that three at the end, I still knew we were going to pull through, we weren't going to lose in overtime," said Yost.
The Lady Tigers surged ahead, outscoring the Lady Rockets 6-2 to take a 62-58 lead with 1:02 remaining, forcing a Forrest timeout.
Yost nailed a 3-pointer out of the stoppage and called timeout again to set up the defense.
Haily Collins executed the plan to perfection, stealing the ball and feeding Evans, who was fouled by Fayetteville point guard Nesya Buchanan.
Ahead for good
Buchanan went to the bench on her fifth personal foul before Evans calmly drained both free throws, giving Forrest a 63-62 lead.
"I just knew I didn't want to lose and I knew I would make them," said Evans. "I tried not thinking about the game and how we have to have these, I just tried to focus and stay calm."
Horton was fouled with 30.5 seconds left, but could not convert the front end of a one-and-one, and to add insult to injury, Horton fouled out trying to snatch her missed free throw.
Evans made one charity toss at the other end and the Lady Tigers could not convert a last-second shot, falling to 1-10 in District 9-A play on the season.
Forrest (17-7, 5-6) has three games remaining on its regular season schedule before the District 9-A Tournament that will be held in Eagleville.
The Lady Rockets are headed for a first-round match-up versus Moore County or Eagleville, who square off Tuesday in Lynchburg.
"Moore County is big rivals, we always have a hard time with them, but they beat us two times and it is going to be hard to beat us three times," said Yost. "I am not scared of Moore County, they caught us in two bad games, they are not going to catch us in a third."
Forrest 14 13 13 14 8 --64
FV 11 13 15 17 6 --62
Forrest: Caitlin Yost 21, Hannah Evans 13, Savannah Brothers 10, Sierra Waggoner 8, Margaret Bryan 6, Kyleah Hengesbach 4, Haily Collins 2.
Fayetteville: DJ Horton 31, Nesya Buchanan 15, Tamia Baker 11, Jasmine Parks 5.
Three-point goals: Fayetteville (3): Horton 3; Forrest (1): Yost.
Halftime score: Forrest 29, Fayetteville 24.