Leonard propels Rockets to win

Friday, February 6, 2015
Forrest center (32) Blake Leonard scores on a layup in the second quarter against Cornersville. Tribune photo by Louis G. Scheuchenzuber

Senior center Blake Leonard helped Forrest (9-17) snap a two-game losing streak on Monday night by pouring in a game high 21 points to help lead the Rockets to a 66-38 road victory over county rival Cornersville (2-19).

Aided by a strong first quarter performance, Forrest held a 35-23 lead at the break before pulling away in the second half and outscoring the Bulldogs 31-15 over the final two periods to complete the sweep of the season series.

Big advantage

The Rockets exploited their size advantage in the paint and scored a number of easy baskets after breaking Cornersville's press, as they shot a torrid 63 percent (27-of-43) from the field despite hitting only 1-of-8 three-point attempts.

Leonard spearheaded Forrest's offensive attack by knocking down all nine of his field goal attempts to go along with nine rebounds and two steals.

"We definitely wanted to get the ball inside because Blake is one of our best scorers," said FHS coach Wes Hobbs. "We handled their press well too and attacked the basket, which led to a lot of easy layups."

Will Edmonson followed Leonard with 11 points, while Jacob Jones and Colton Cook tallied eight points apiece with Cook recording five steals. Donavan Murray also added seven points for the Rockets.

Off target

The Bulldogs had trouble finding the bottom of the net and mustered just 11 field goals on 21 percent shooting, which included a 1-of-10 effort from beyond the arc. Cornersville did hold an 11-4 edge on the offensive glass, but Forrest outrebounded the Bulldogs 32-27 overall.

"We missed a lot of easy shots and they hit a lot of shots. That was the difference in the game," said Cornersville coach Gerard Randolph. "We're a little tired too because we've played a lot of games the last couple of weeks."

Cornersville's (5) Zack Smith fires up a jumper over Forrest's Korbin Brown in the first quarter.

Senior guard Tate Lowery led the Bulldogs with 11 points, while Jamie Crowell notched 10 points. Michael Allen and Michael Civitello chipped in four points apiece for Cornersville as well.

Leonard carried the Rockets early on and scored 10 points in the first five and a half minutes of the game to stake Forrest to a 14-2 lead.

After Cornersville trimmed the deficit to 14-5 on three foul shots, the Rockets reeled off seven straight points thanks to a Murray three and a pair of baskets from Cook and Edmonson to open up a 21-5 advantage early in the second period.

Bulldog run

The Bulldogs outscored Forrest 18-12 over the next 6:13 behind seven points apiece from Crowell and Lowery to narrow the gap to 33-23 before Leonard made a layup in the waning moments of the half to give FHS a 35-23 lead at the break.

In the third quarter, the Rockets began to put the game out of reach and opened the stanza with a 12-4 spurt, highlighted by a couple of three-point plays from Jones, to stretch their lead to 47-27 midway through the stanza.

Cornersville High School honored their senior basketball players and managers before the start of the Bulldogs' game against Huntland on Tuesday night. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Lindsey Robison, Breanne Dunkleman, Kathryn Holly, (back row, left to right) Justin Black, David Looney, Zack Smith, Tate Lowery, Jamie Crowell, Hunter Swinney, and Michael Civitello.

Cornersville trimmed the deficit to 49-31 on a layup by David Looney and a Lowery jumper, but Forrest kept their foot on the gas and outscored the Bulldogs 15-5 over the next 6:39 on the strength of six points from Cook and five points from Leonard to forge a 64-34 advantage midway through the fourth period before coasting to the 66-38 win.

Forrest 16 19 23 8 = 66

Cornersville 5 18 11 4 = 38

Forrest: Blake Leonard 21, Will Edmonson 10, Colton Cook 8, Jacob Jones 8, Donavan Murray 7, Korbin Brown 4, Jesse Pruitt 2, Caleb Hogan 2, Noah Rumley 2, Tanner Roberson 1, Jaylen Smith 1.

Cornersville: Tate Lowery 11, Jamie Crowell 10, Michael Allen 4, Michael Civitello 4, Zack Smith 3, David Looney 2, Austin Ridinger 2, Kolbe McMahon 1, Justin Black 1.

Three-point field goals: Forrest (1): Murray 1; Cornersville (1): Crowell 1.

Halftime score: Forrest 35, Cornersville 23.