FMS Rockets advance with win over Eagles
It was probably the most solid, all-around game the FMS Rockets played this season and it couldn't have come at a better time as the five-seeded Chapel Hill boys beat four-seeded Eagleville 45-42 in the second round of the 54th Annual World Tournament Wednesday night at home.
"I'm still just very overwhelmed, very excited," FMS coach Jessica Ezell said. "Our approach for most games this season has been to play one game at a time, tonight we backed it up a little bit and decided to play one quarter at a time and it worked."
To the semis
With the win, the defending Duck River Valley Conference Tournament champion Rockets take on Cascade in the semifinals with the winner advancing to Saturday night's title game.
Multiple players chipped in mightily for the Rockets on the boards, in the scoring column and defensively versus a tough Eagleville squad.
Ryley McClaran led FMS in the scoring column with 13 points and Cole Villazon was also in double figures with 11.
"One thing people don't realize about Villazon is that he guards the best player on every team that we play, he always will," Ezell said. "So he gets winded quickly and to be able to perform like he does on the offensive end after defending the best player, I couldn't ask for more."
Spencer McCown rained down three 3-pointers in the contest, all coming at huge times in the game.
"McCown stepped up tremendously, he is looking for his shot," Ezell said. "He is a shooter too, but he wants to stand back sometimes and wait on McClaran and Villazon, but tonight he just stepped up and knocked down some big shots."
Joel Burton scored five points and along with Lofton Yeager and Dalton Colvin, the trio staved off a much bigger Eagleville post presence, grabbing some key rebounds at crunch time, including a huge Colvin rebound with just seconds to play in the game.
"Rebounds have been a weakness for us all year and it's not necessarily that we are not in position, we are not making contact," Ezell said. "Those guys can outjump us, we are not a big team and we try to outjump them, that's what boys try to do, but once we started to make contact, we stepped up late in the game."
Max Kirby came off the bench for Forrest and turned in a superior defensive effort when he was on the floor.
Villazon opened the game with a driving layup and after Eagleville missed three attempts at scoring at the other end, McCown drilled the first of his long bombs, making it a 5-0 contest and giving the Rockets a ton of confidence that would not fade.
Tanner Roberson scored for the Eagles, but McCown went downtown again, giving the Rockets a six-point lead.
Burton scored in the low post after another Eagleville missed shot to extend the Rockets' lead to 10-4, but the Eagles responded with a 5-1 run to end the first quarter.
Back and forth
Forrest maintained the three-point lead for much of the second quarter until a Bobby Snell 3-pointer tied the game at 18 and after a Forrest missed shot, Roberson scored in the low post to put Eagleville in front.
FMS responded again as McClaran scored on a rebound and put back with 10.5 seconds remaining in the first half, giving the Rockets a 22-20 at the intermission.
Early in the third quarter, Forrest went up by six points at 28-22 on McCown's final trey of the evening.
Eagleville responded with a 3-pointer by Jordan Davenport, followed by a bucket in the paint by Bryson Kelley, making it a one-point game.
FMS would surge ahead by five points three times by the end of the period with the last five-point margin coming on a Yeager rebound and put back with just seconds remaining in the stanza.
Ahead to stay
The Rockets took a 36-31 lead to the fourth quarter and after some back and forth action, Villazon increased it to six on with a drive to the hoop with just under three minutes left in the game.
Burton hit one free throw with 25.3 seconds left to give FMS a 43-37 lead, but the Eagles would not quit as Charles Greer scored and Eagleville called timeout with 14.1 seconds remaining in the game.
The Rockets turned the ball over, but the Eagles could not capitalize and Villazon hit one free throw after being fouled.
Kelley kept the Eagles' hopes alive with a 3-pointer, but on the inbounds play under the FMS basket, a technical foul was called and McClaran stepped to the foul line and calmly drained one-of-two attempts to put the game away.
Forrest 12 10 14 9-45
Eagleville 9 11 11 11-42
Forrest-Ryley McClaran 13, Cole Villazon 11, Spencer McCown, Joel Burton 5, Dalton Colvin 3, Lofton Yeager 2, Max Kirby 2.
Three-point goals-McCown 3.
Free throws-McClaran 5-6, Villazon 3-5, Burton 1-2, Colvin 1-2.
Eagleville-Jordan Davenport 15, Brandon Kelley 8, Tanner Roberson 8, Charles Greer 4, Cameron Curtis 4, Bobby Snell 3.
Three-point goals-Kelley 2, Snell, Davenport.
Free throws-Davenport 2-2, Curtis 0-2, Roberson 0-2.