Hornets rally past Rockets as district tourney nears

Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Jesse Pruitt (4) hauls in a rebound before scoring in the low post for the Rockets, who fell 48-44 to Huntland Friday night in Chapel Hill. Photo by Anthony S. Puca

Forrest's January slide continued Friday night in Chapel Hill with the latest setback coming by the sting of the Huntland Hornets, who pulled off a 48-44 comeback win on Homecoming.

"We had a good stretch and then it came down to hitting free throws, but we just couldn't hit them," said Forrest senior Will Edmonson.

"We came in here wanting to play tough on defense and that's what we did."

Ready for tourney

The Rockets finished its district slate with a 3-9 record and will be the sixth seed in the upcoming District 9-A Tournament in Eagleville where they will play three-seeded Moore County (14-12, 7-4) in the first round.

"I think we are good for the tournament," said Edmonson. "Coach (Wes Hobbs) said we are set up pretty good to play Moore County, so I think we have a good chance."

Edmonson scored to open the game as Forrest got off to a good start versus the Hornets, leading by five points at 9-4 on a Blake Leonard bucket in the post midway through the first quarter.

Will Edmonson (24) takes it strong to the dish for the Rockets.

The Rockets would take an 11-8 lead to the second period that would be scratch-and-claw basketball the entire eight minutes as Huntland tied the game on seven different occasions before taking a 24-23 lead on an Aaron Williams three-pointer with 1:10 remaining in the first half.

Start to finish

Edmonson ended the first half just like he started it, scoring for the Rockets, who led 25-24.

A couple of Jessie Pruitt buckets in the paint highlighted an 8-3 run by the Rockets at the outset of the third quarter as they increased their lead to six points at 33-27.

The Hornets dug in again, making a run of its own as they outscored the Rockets 8-2 over the next several minutes to cut the Forrest lead to two points, entering the final period of play.

Pruitt banged home a low-post basket to begin the fourth quarter, but Huntland countered with six straight points down low to take a 39-37 lead.

Final tie

The two ball clubs battled to three separate ties with the last one coming on two Edmonson free throws with 4:13 left in the contest, making it 43-43.

Huntland's Kobe Foster, who led all scorers in the contest with 15 points, scored on a rebound and put-back with 2:25 left, giving the Hornets a lead they would not surrender down the stretch as the Rockets would only score one point the remainder of the game in the four-point loss.

Forrest: Jesse Pruitt 10, Will Edmonson 10, Blake Leonard 9, Colton Cook 8, Korbin Brown 4, Donovan Murray 2, Jacob Jones 1.

Huntland: Kobe Foster 15, DJ Taylor 8, Rahul Patel 7, Tyler Smith 7, Aaron Williams 6, Justin Sells 4.

3-Point goals: Huntland (2): Williams 2; Forrest (none)

Halftime score: Forrest 25, Huntland 24.