Finality for Forrest tough to take
The tears started to flow before time ran out in Forrest's 2014 campaign that ended in a tough 53-47 loss to Moore County in the opening round of the District 9-A Tournament in Eagleville Monday night.
"When we get our heads down we struggle, when were are playing happy we are pretty darn good," said Forrest coach Jeremy Jean. "The kids played hard, they gave it all they had and that's all we can ask for."
Forrest finished the season with 20-8 record with three of its losses at the hands of the Raiderettes, who have won 10 out of the last 13 meetings between the two long-time rivals.
The loss also marked the first time Forrest has been eliminated in the first round of the post-season since 2010 when they lost to Community.
"It's a disappointment, we should be playing Thursday night, but we dug a hole during the during the season losing some district games to get in this spot," said Jean.
McKayla Ray nailed two 3-pointers in the first minute of the game for Moore County, giving the Raiderettes the early momentum, but Forrest battled back to tie the game at 9-9 on a Savannah Brothers free throw with 2:05 remaining in the first quarter.
Moore County went up 14-10 before Caitlyn Yost stole the ball and fed Kyleah Hengesbach for a lay-up at the end of the period.
Yost tied the game on the first possession of the second quarter and moments later; Hengesbach put the Lady Rockets in front for the first time with a steal and score.
Katie Thomas drilled a 3-pointer, seesawing the lead back to the Raiderettes, who would outscore Forrest 11-10 the remainder of the period to take a 27-24 lead at the half.
Hannah Evans hit two free throws and a basket in the low post to put Forrest back in front 28-27 at the outset of the second half.
After a Moore County missed shot, Brothers made a 3-pointer from the corner, giving Forrest a 31-27 and forcing a Moore County timeout with 3:40 remaining in the third period.
Ray scored out the stoppage for the Raiderettes, but a Yost basket, followed by an Evans 3-pointer gave Forrest their biggest lead of the game at seven points.
Moore County dug in, scoring the last five points of the period, including a 3-pointer by Kinsley Logan that sliced the Forrest lead to two points.
Yost opened up the fourth quarter with a basket, making it a four-point game before Moore County began to surge, eventually taking a 43-40 lead midway through the stanza.
"There was some time there in the third quarter where we played happy and got a big lead, but I think we exerted so much energy that we couldn't guard that person or get that rebound late when we had to," said Jean.
There would be no scoring for the next minute and a half before a Forrest turnover led to a Ray fast-break basket, putting heavy pressure on the Lady Rockets, who failed to score.
Hawkins made both ends of a one-and-one situation from the free throw line, opening up a four-point lead for Moore County with 1:12 left in the contest.
Evans came up with a 3-pointer for Forrest, but it was the last basket of her high school career and the last basket of the season for the Lady Rockets, who fell by the six-point margin.
Moore County 14 13 7 19--53
Forrest 12 12 12 11--47
Forrest: Hannah Evans 16, Kyleah Hengesbach 15, Caitlyn Yost 7, Savannah Brothers 4, Margaret Bryan 4, Sierra Waggoner 1.
Moore County: Kursten Hawkins 15, McKayla Ray 13, Kinsley Logan 13, Katie Thomas 9, Grace Cauble 2, Chrissie Lockhardt 1. .
Three-point field goals: Forrest (3): Evans 2, Brothers 1; Moore County (5): Logan 2, Ray 2, Thomas 1.
Halftime score: Moore County 27 Forrest 24.
Photos by Anthony S. Puca