Lady Rockets win 9th straight

Friday, November 13, 2015
Kaydee Todd (15) wins a loose ball battle for the Lady Rockets, who beat CMS 54-16 Tuesday night at Chapel Hill. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Middle School girls pushed their winning streak to nine games Tuesday night, trampling Cornersville Middle School 54-16 at Chapel Hill.

"Cornersville is getting better than the first time we played them," said FMS coach David Junkins, whose team has compiled its win run after opening with two losses. "He (CMS coach Payton Newton) has them prepared and they're getting better, so I wouldn't want to play them later in the season."

Forest used the same formula against Cornersville that has produced so much success this season via a stifling pressure defense that turns opponent mistakes into easy transition baskets.

Forrest's Jenna Blanton displays the pressing defense that turned into a lot of points for the Lady Rockets.

Press works

"I hope we always do that in every game," Junkins said. "We've found a little press that works for us pretty good and we did a good job of rotating in it and looked to score."

The Blanton twins -- Ally and Anna -- got things going as Ally scored off the opening tip, and after CMS turnover off the press, Anna went coast-to-coast for another score.

"They (twins) were really the only two coming back with experience this year, and this summer they worked on getting everybody up to speed," Junkins said. "The other younger girls have stepped up and have been a tremendous help to us as well."

The Lady Bulldogs were called for a five-second violation when they couldn't get the ball inbounds, and seventh-grade standout Laura Ann Mealer made them pay with a basket off the ensuing inbounds play.

Easy scoring

Moments later, a tie-up on the floor went the Lady Rockets' way and Mealer scored again for an 8-0 lead. The defensive onslaught continued when Anna Blanton stole the ball and went in for a layup that spun off the rim and into the waiting arms of her sister , who deposited the put-back.

Another five-second violation on CMS led to a Shea Lewis low-post basket to make it 14-0 before Tatum Delap scored Cornersville's first basket with 2:12 left in the quarter. After a Forrest miss, Anna Blanton stole the ball again and fed Mealer on the run for two more transition points.

Mealer came up with another theft and went the distance for a layup, and after another CMS turnover, Anna Blanton took a pass from Abbie Hill and laid it in for a 20-2 cushion entering the second quarter. The Lady Rockets scored the first four points of that period before Junkins pulled the pressure to settle for a 28-9 lead at halftime.

Further ahead

Payton Salsman nails one of her two foul shots for the Lady Bulldogs.

Exandria Scheetz opened up the second half scoring for CMS, but the Lady Rockets scored the next seven points on a three-point play by Lewis in the paint and a pair of steals and scores by Mealer. Scheetz scored the last basket for CMS in the third quarter to make it 35-13 before FMS reeled off 12 straight points to end the period up 47-13.

Forrest won fourth period 7-3 with Kaydee Todd leading the way with some gritty defense. Todd and Ashley Milligan had one field goal in the fourth quarter, while Hill had a basket and a foul shot.

Great player

"I love Kaydee to death," Junkins said. "She hustles every minute she's on the court in practice and in the games. She gives it everything. She plays her tail off on defense and gives it her all on offense, so I'm really glad to have her on the squad."

Sorrell Garret had the lone basket for the Lady Dawgs and Grace Corwin hit one foul shot in the final six minutes.

FMS had a chance to avenge its only two losses of the season in a Thursday night home game against Westwood and a Monday night home game with Eagleville.

"I'm very fortunate to be here coaching the athleticism we have and the girls get along great together," Junkin said. "They work hard every day in practice and when you have that kind of mentality, things can come easy for you."

Cornersville 2 7 4 3 -- 16

Forrest 20 8 19 7 -- 54


Abbie Woodard knocks down a runner for the Lady Bulldogs.

Cornersville: Exandria Scheetz 6, Payton Salsman 3, Tatum Delap 2, Sorrell Garrett 2, Abbie Woodard 2, Grace Corwin 1.

Forrest: Laura Ann Mealer 14, Ally Blanton 10, Shea Lewis 7, Abbie Hill 5, Ashley Milligan 4, Jenna Blanton 4, Anna Blanton 4, Zoe Long 2, Kaydee Todd 2, Angela Jett 2.