Slow start dooms Forrest at Lincoln Co.
The Lincoln County Lady Falcons came ready to play from the opening tip and Forrest did not, resulting in an uphill battle fought all night by the Lady Rockets.
The Chapel Hill girls trailed by as many as 24 points before coming together with two minutes remaining in the first half, but it was not enough as Forrest fell 64-53 at Fayetteville in Thursday night's season opener.
"We dug too big of a hole, but we did a good job of bringing it back," Forrest coach Jeremy Jean said. "It's early. You don't want to lose games at all and you don't want to lose games down the road by going nuts on them, so we have to learn from it and grow from it."
Krista Chapman knocked in a layup off a Kyleah Hengesbach pass to open the contest for Forrest before Lincoln County's McKinley Fitch got hot, scoring eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers in a 10-0 home team run.
"That first half we came out passive, we didn't want to do anything and we got on our heels," Jean said.
Forrest would trail by same the 10-point margin at the end of the first quarter and began the second period with a continuation of the turnover bug that caused them to fall behind.
"We had 24 turnovers and they had 11 deflections---they (Lincoln County) really didn't turn the ball over," said Jean. "We have to learn not to pass through hands."
With just over two minutes to go in the first half a Samantha Williams low post bucket gave Lincoln County a 36-12 before the defensive team that Jean had hoped for, showed up.
Caitlyn Yost, who led the Lady Rockets in the scoring column with 14 points, ignited the rally with a three-point play off a steal and score.
Hengesbach would nail both ends of a one-and-one from the free throw line after a five-second call on the Lady Falcons and Madison Curtis added two more foul shots after swiping the ball and being fouled.
Krista Chapman scored the final point in the first half from the charity stripe, cutting the Lincoln County lead to 34-20 at the intermission.
"They were mad and embarrassed how they played," Jean said. "In the second half we were the aggressors."
The Lady Falcons owned the outset of the second half also, soaring out with 16-4 run.
Once again, the gritty Lady Rockets fought back with a 7-0 burst before two free throws by Lincoln County's Sloan Mann made it 42-31 with a minute remaining in the third period.
Curtis would drill a long 3-pointer moments later and Chapman sliced the Lincoln County lead to six points when she knocked in a rebound to end the quarter.
The Lady Rockets would stay close, trailing by just seven points early in the fourth quarter, but Lincoln County pulled away and a 2-for-10 performance from the free throw line by Forrest in the period sealed their fate in the loss.
"It all snowballs back to the first half when we didn't play well, if we had a couple of those timeouts left, their legs wouldn't be tired and would make those shots," Jean said. "We have to be the one to come out and dictate tempo every night and we will be alright."
Forrest 7 13 16 17-53
Lincoln County 17 19 6 22-64
Forrest-Caitlyn Yost 14, Kyleah Hengesbach 11, Krista Chapman 10, Katey Harmon 9, Madison Curtis 7, Sydney Hill 2.
Three-point goals-Hengesbach 2, Curtis 1, Harmon 1.
Lincoln County-Sloan Mann 23, Samantha Williams 14, McKinley Fitch 13, Bethany Lamon 5, Brianna Faulkner 5, Brooke Ferguson 2, Carly Fee 2.
Three-point goals-Mann 3, Fitch 2, Lamon 1.