Lady Rockets hang on to stop Liberty
The Forrest Middle School girls opened up the first round of the Duck River World Tournament with a win, but like any tournament each round you survive the competition gets better.
Thursday night's semifinal match against Liberty was neck and neck for the duration of the contest, but Forrest managed to hold off a streaking Liberty squad 40-28.
"Defense intensity, playing smarter on defense in the second half than we did in the first half I think was the key to this," Forrest coach David Junkins said. "We're missing a lot shots, missing a lot of free throws, but we're playing good defense and that was the key to the night."
Forrest was led by 12 Laura Ann Mealer points and six rebounds and Ally Blanton scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead the Rocket charge.
Mealer scored 10 of her team-high 12 points in the first quarter as the Lady Rockets jumped out to a monstrous 17-9 lead.
Liberty would start the second quarter with a 6-0 run before an Ally Blanton 3-pointer stretched the Lady Rockets' lead to 20-15.
Mary Alice Shavers scored on a rebound and put back to trim the lead back to three points, but Ally Blanton got her own rebound on a put back with
32 seconds left in the half for the 22-17 lead going into halftime. "I told them at halftime, we have to play better defense, we're reaching,"Junkins said. "We got a couple people in foul trouble, I said, just keep them in front, make them earn every basket. If they do get a shot off, we're gonna box out and try to win one shot per possession."
Anna Blanton drove through to lane and dished the ball off to Shea Lewis to push the Rocket lead to 33-19 with 3:41 left in the game, but a Shavers 3-pointer and layup cut the FMS lead to 10 points.
On the ensuing possession, Anna Blanton penetrated and passed to Lewis again for the bucket to put the game out of reach.
Forrest 17 5 8 10 40
Liberty 9 8 2 9 28
Forrest (40): Jenna Blanton 3, Anna Blanton 4, Ally Blanton 14, Laura Ann Mealer 12, Shea Lewis 8, Abbie Hill 2.
Liberty (28): Kelsey Hardin 4, Mary Alice Showers 17, Kaylee Adams 5, Kendall Dearing 2.
Three-point goals- Forrest (2): Jenna Blanton, Ally Blanton. Liberty (1): Shavers 1.