Forrest Middle hoops roll along
The Forrest Middle School basketball season is just more than a third of the way through through schedule and both squads have impressive winning records with the girls standing at 6-2, while the boys are 5-3.
The Lady Rockets have reeled off six straight wins after losing their first two games of the season.
After a 36-29 road win at Cascade on Oct. 27, the Lady Rockets came back two days later with a 34-19 win over the Community Viqueens in Chapel Hill.
FMS led from start to finish in the win on a balanced scoring attack led by Laura Ann Mealer and Anna Blanton, who both had nine points.
Jenna Blanton scored eight points, Shea Lewis chipped in six and Ally Blanton netted two points for Forrest. Kaitlin Leverette had nine points to lead the Viqueens in scoring.
On Monday, the Fayetteville Lady Tigers fell victim to the hot-handed Lady Rockets as the Chapel Hill girls cruised to an easy 38-8 win.
Forrest's pressing defense was too much for Fayetteville as the Lady Rockets led 15-4 at the end of the first quarter. A low-scoring second period saw Forrest lead 19-6 at the half, but a 16-0 third quarter put the game away.
For the second straight game, FMS didn't have a player scoring in double figures as Jenna Blanton had eight points to lead the Lady Rockets.
Anna Blanton and Mealer scored a half dozen points apiece and Lewis had five.
Zoe Long came up with four points in the game, while Ally Blanton, Kaydee Todd, Riley Ward and Ashley Milligan all scored two points.
Abbie Hill had one free throw for Forrest.
Addie Meeks scored four points for the Lady Tigers, while Tyra Haston and Zoe George had two points apiece.
The Rockets fell 52-34 at Cascade before hosting Community in a barnburner Thursday night in Chapel Hill.
After a Ryley McClaran steal and score gave FMS a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter, the game would be close the rest of the way as the Vikings fought back to lead 20-19 at halftime.
With the score tied at 28-28 with just seconds remaining in the third quarter, McClaran drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Forrest the lead entering the final six minutes of play.
FMS led by as many as four points three times in the fourth quarter, but the Vikings stormed back to take a 41-40 lead on a Kobe Pride's rebound and put-back with 1:18 left.
A McClaran runner in the lane with 51 seconds see-sawed the lead back to Forrest, and after a Community missed shot, McClaran hit two free throws with eight seconds left, putting Forrest up by three points.
A last-second desperation 3-point attempt by the Vikings was short of the mark and the Rockets escaped with the win.
McClaran ended up with 26 points, including a solid 12-for-13 performance from the foul line to lead the Rockets.
Cole Villazon had nine points, Spencer McCown added five and Lofton Yeager had four.
Corde Lane poured in 23 points to lead the Vikings.
The exciting win over the Vikings must have taken the fuel out of the Rockets engine because on Monday, FMS came out flat against the Tigers.
McCown gave the Rockets a 3-0 lead on a three-point play, and after an Eli Dotson basket for Fayetteville, McClaran scored to make it 5-3.
From there, the Tigers outscored Forrest 14-9 for the remainder of the first half and led 16-14 at the break.
An Isaac Pace basket, followed by a Dotson bucket to begin the third quarter gave Fayetteville its biggest lead of the game at 20-14.
Change of pace
Connor Lewis scored to break the Fayetteville run and moments later, McCown drilled a 3-pointer, cutting the Tigers' lead to 20-19 with just over three minutes to play in the period.
After Fayetteville turnover, Dalton Colvin hit one free throw to tie the game.
Villazon came up huge on defense moments later, stealing the ball and going the distance for a fast break bucket, making 22-20 with 2:20 remaining in the third quarter.
FMS took a 26-21 lead into the fourth quarter, and a McClaran trey opened the scoring to make it 29-21.
After a Fayetteville miss, McClaran found Yeager for a layup and a 10-point lead.
Another Tiger smiscue led to a McCown basket in the paint and from there, FMS finished off the Tigers.