Lady Rockets bring back Duck

Wednesday, December 23, 2015
The 2015-2016 World Tournament champions Forrest Lady Rockets. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

FMS gets back at Westwood in title clash

The 54th Annual World Tournament brackets played out to form as the top two seeds met for the title game Saturday at Chapel Hill, pitting the hometown Lady Rockets versus their namesakes from Westwood.

Westwood came in as the number-one seed and had beaten FMS twice in the regular season, but the Lady Rockets took the all-important third match up 48-42 to win the Duck River Conference Tournament title.

Duck comes home

"We brought the "Duck" home where it belongs, so I am so happy for the girls," FMS coach David Junkins said. "They came in very focused today and were ready to play."

The Manchester squad led 16-15 after one quarter of play before a Kaydee Todd jumper tied the game at 18 early in the second quarter.

Westwood fought back, taking a 23-22 lead on a Morgan Jones basket in the paint.

Shea Lewis knocks down two of her seven points in the title game.

The Lady Rockets re-took the lead on a Shea Lewis rebound and put-back and a steal and score by Ally Blanton made it 26-23.


Ally Blanton swung the momentum in favor of the Lady Rockets for good when she drained a 3-pointer with seconds to play in the first half, putting FMS up 29-23 at the intermission.

Morgan scored for Westwood at the outset of the third period before Forrest ran off seven straight points with the Blanton sisters leading the way.

"We had a little run there in the second quarter and I told them at the half that if we established ourselves in the first three minutes of the third quarter, everything would go well," Junkins said. "We did that and it worked out."

Blantons shine

Ally Blanton takes the rock to the hoop in the fourth quarter for the Lady Rockets.

Twins Anna and Ally scored a field goal each in the spurt, while seventh-grader Jenna Blanton drained a 3-pointer, giving FMS a 36-25 lead.

Westwood cut the Forrest lead to 38-31 on an Ashley Starks bucket in the paint before Lewis and Laura Ann Mealer knocked in back-to-back rebounds to stretch the Lady Rockets' lead to 42-31, entering the fourth quarter.

Westwood would not go down without a fight, slicing the FMS lead to 48-42 with one minute to go in the contest, but neither team would score again as the Lady Rockets (19-4) celebrated the title win.

Good year

"I'll be honest, we have not had very many issues this year on and off the court," Junkins said. "We have 11 of the 16 girls in the Beta Club, eight of them are involved in student government and 12 also play other sports, so these girls are very well-rounded. It makes it easy to set the goals for high school and it made it easy to get that "Duck" back to Chapel Hill."

FMS 15 14 13 6-42

Westwood 16 7 8 11-48

FMS seventh-grader Laura Ann Mealer scored 11 points in the World Tournament championship game versus Westwood.

FMS-Laura Ann Mealer 11, Ally Blanton 11, Jenna Blanton 9, Anna Blanton 6, Kaydee Todd 2, Sydnee Mitchell 2.

Three-point goals-Jenna Blanton.

Free throws-Jenna Blanton 2-3, Anna Blanton 0-5, Laura Ann Mealer 1-2, Ally Blanton 0-1, Shea Lewis 1-2.

Westwood-Morgan Jones 20, Ashley Starks 15, Karen Medina 3, Beatris Barrera 2, Clamsa Barrera 2.

Three-point goals-Jones, Medina, Starks.

Free throws-B. Barrera 2-2, Jones 3-4, Starks 2-3.

DRVC All-Season Team-Forrest: Anna Blanton, Ally Blanton, Jenna Blanton, Laura Ann Mealer; Westwood: Ashley Starks, Karen Medina, Morgan Jones; Community: Jaide Langley, Kaitlin Leverette; Liberty: Kaylee Adams, Mary Alice Shavers; Eagleville: Makayla Moates, Carissa Curtis; Cascade: Kailey Snell, Eli Chumley; MTCS: Jayce Wilkerson; Fayetteville: Addi Meeks; Moore County: Harlee Deaton.

DRVC All-Tournament Team-Forrest: Ally Blanton, Anna Blanton, Laura Ann Mealer; Westwood: Ashley Starks, Beatris Berrara, Morgan Jones; Huntland: Brooklyn Morris, Mikaylee Edwards; Liberty: Kaylee Adams, Mary Alice Shavers.