FMS hoopsters sweep Huntland in regular season finale

Friday, December 11, 2015
Laura Ann Mealer scored a game-high 20 points in the Lady Rockets'48-38 win over Huntland Thursday night at Chapel Hill. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Middle School girls capped off a big regular season Thursday night at Chapel Hill, beating Huntland 48-38.

"We wanted to finish the season as best as we could and I think we finished pretty strong tonight," FMS coach David Junkins said. "We have come a long way from that first game, the regular season has been highly successful and we hope to carry that into the post-season. Our long term goal has always been to bring the "Duck" back to Chapel Hill."

The game had huge significance in the scheme of Duck River Valley Conference Tournament post-season seeding as the final regular season battle was for second place in the upcoming 54th Annual World Tournament at Chapel Hill that begins tomorrow.

"It was a big game, we were basically tied with Huntland and the winner would be the two-seed and the loser would end up slipping to three, four or five," Junkins said. "We were hoping we would come out and play well and we did."

With the win, Forrest (16-4) took over the second seed and will play on Monday at 5:15 p.m. versus the winner of the Cascade (7)/Fayetteville (10) first-round game.

Westwood is the top-seeded, Community (3), Huntland (4), Eagleville (5), Liberty (6), MTCS (8) and Moore County (9) round out the final standings for the Duck River Valley Conference.

FMS seventh-grader Laura Ann Mealer came up huge for FMS Thursday night, acting as a one-girl wrecking crew, scoring 14 points and hauling down eight rebounds in the first half.

"Laura Mealer was alive in the first half and when they switched to try to contain her, Ally (Blanton did her thing in the second half," Junkins said. "Every game (Mealer) she is getting a little more confident and we have no idea where the top is for her, so we are getting her some really good looks and she is taking care of the ball when we give it to her."

The only other points scored by the Lady Rockets in the first half came via two 3-pointers by Ally Blanton and a single free throw by twin sister Anna.

Huntland was up to the task, scoring 21 first half points of its own to match Forrest.

Lady Hornet's sharpshooter Brooklyn Morris scored all of her 13 points in the game during the first half, including three 3-pointers.

Huntland sent a message after the intermission that they would not go down easily, winning a low-scoring third quarter battle 7-6 to take a 28-26 lead, entering the fourth period.

Ally Blanton drains one of her two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter where the eighth-grader poured in 12 points to put the Lady Hornets away.

The Lady Rockets responded big time as they began the fourth period with three consecutive 3-pointers as Ally Blanton bookended a pair of treys around one by Anna Blanton, swelling the FMS lead to 35-28.

Huntland tried to come back, outscoring FMS 8-1 leading down to the two-minute mark of the contest, but from there the Chapel Hill girls put the game away to claim the 48-38 win and earn a short break before their World Tournament debut.

2015-2016 Girls World Tournament Bracket

Huntland 10 11 7 10-38

FMS 11 10 5 20-48

Huntland-Brooklyn Morris 13, Mikaylie Edwards 8, Camille Bland 6, Lexie Finchum 4, Addison Limbaugh 3, Ali Peters 2, Lauren Worthington 2.

Three-point goals-Morris 3, Limbaugh 1.

Free throws-Bland 0-2, Morris 0-1, Peters 0-1, Edwards 6-6, Finchum 0-2.

FMS-Laura Ann Mealer 20, Ally Blanton 18, Anna Blanton 9, Jenna Blanton 1.

Three-point goals-Anna Blanton 3, Ally Blanton 2.

Free throws-Jenna Blanton 1-2, Anna Blanton 0-3, Ally Blanton 2-5, Mealer 2-2.

Spencer McCown lines up a 3-pointer for the Rockets, who beat Huntland 57-33 in Thursday night's regular season finale at Forrest.

Rockets beat Hornets, play as fifth seed in DRVC Tournament

The FMS Rockets easily took care of Huntland in Thursday night's regular season finale, beating the Hornets 57-33.

The Rockets (13-7) head into the World Tournament as the defending champions and landed the fifth seed in this year's event, opening up versus fourth-seeded Eagleville at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday night in the second round.

FMS swept the conference last year, going a perfect 20-0 to win the regular season and World Tournament title.

"We have a target on our backs and I think with us coming in at 13-7 and not coming in undefeated, I think they may be overlooking us, but that is OK," FMS coach Jessica Ezell said. "I'm not sure who we play, but in our conference they can all play from top to bottom, so we have to show up every night."

Cascade finished as the number one seed, Liberty is two, Community three, MTCS six, Westwood seven, Fayetteville eight, Huntland nine and Moore County 10.

Forrest started fast versus the Hornets on Thursday night at Chapel Hill, jumping out to a 5-0 lead on a Ryley McClaran three-point play in the lane, followed by a Cole Villazon basket.

The Hornets came back with six straight points in the low post to take the lead until a Dalton Colvin bucket in the paint and a Spencer McCown 3-pointer put FMS in front 10-6

Lofton Yeager bangs down a jumper in the lane for two of his four points in the contest.

The first period ended in a 12-12 tie and the Hornets inched out in front 14-12 early in the second quarter, but FMS surged with an 8-0 run, taking a six-point lead .

Huntland's Colton Ray hit to foul shots to momentarily stop the Rockets' surge, but it was reengaged on two McClaran free throws and a Max Kirby jumper to end the first half with the Rockets in charge 24-16.

McClaran, who did not make a 3-pointer in the first half, put the Hornets away when he heated up the long ball, drilling a trio of 3-point baskets and totaling 10 points in the third quarter that saw the Rockets up by 22 points at 46-34, entering the final period.

"Our shots definitely weren't falling in the first half, but they were playing together and that is what we were seeking all year," Ezell said. "But they were patient and I knew once McClaran hit one, he would start rolling and I was very impressed that when he wasn't making them in the first half, he worked to get other people open."

FMS stayed on the gas in the fourth quarter as Ezell cleared the bench and they responded with an 11-9 favorable fourth period score to end the game.

2015-2016 World Tournament Boys Bracket

Huntland 12 4 8 9-33

FMS 12 12 22 11-57

Huntland-Kolbi Stewart 7, Garrett Jernigan 6, Colton Ray 6, Kobe Love 4, Preston Williams 4, Dalton Davidson 3, Gavin Morgan 2, Bryce Bland 1.

Three-point goals-Stewart 1.

Free throws-Davidson 0-3, Williams 0-1, Morgan 2-2, Bland 1-2, Ray 6-6, Cade Robertson 0-1.