Rockets struggle at MTCS

Friday, January 22, 2016
Forrest freshman Ty Hengesbach looks for an open lane to the basket in the first half at MTCS. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

Losing by 30 points is usually accomplished by poor shooting, not taking care of the basketball, getting beat on the boards and not digging in on the defensive side of the ball.

The result for the Forrest Rockets at Middle Tennessee Christian School Tuesday night was Cougars 70, Chapel Hill 40.

Donovan Murray led all scorers in the contest with 24 points, while MTCS had three players finish with double digits.

Barr Ellenburg led the Cougars with 18 points, Kevin Hall netted 13 and Luke Howell pitched in with a dozen.

Open shots

"Again, they seemed to hit their open shots when we gave it to them and we didn't," Forrest coach Randy Toombs said. "We shoot 48 times to their 41 and still couldn't stay anywhere close."

MTCS scored off the opening tip and after Murray tied the game from the free throw line, the Cougars scored five straight to make it 7-2.

Donovan Murray scored 24 points versus the Cougars, who beat Forrest 70-40 at Murfreesboro Tuesday night.

Murray drove to the rim for a layup and from there, MTCS outscored Forrest 12-0 for the remainder of the first quarter to take a 19-4 lead.

MTCS (12-7, 6-2) would slowly increase its lead during the second quarter, eventually building it to 19 points before Forrest freshman Ty Hengesbach scored the final five points of the first half on a 3-pointer and drive to the hoop.

Cougars pounce

Ellenburg, who had five blocked shots in the contest, swatted away a Forrest shot to begin the second half and the Cougars pounced in for the kill, outscoring the visitors 21-14 in the third quarter to put the game away.

After two Korbin Brown free throws made it 67-39 with 4:28 remaining in the contest, both coaches cleared the benches for the remainder of the game.

Forrest (3-18, 1-7) hosts Community (8-13, 3-4) tonight, Eagleville (9-9, 3-4) on Tuesday and travels to fifth-ranked Huntland (17-2, 8-0) next Friday before finishing up District 9-A play with a home game versus Moore County (3-17, 0-8) on February 5.

Back to basics

"We are going to have to get back to defensive basics and hope it will give us a chance at the tournament," Toombs said. "We will have to play Moore County in a play-in game first, just to get in."

The District 9-A Tournament will start on Saturday February 13 with the play-in round that features the No. 6 and 7 finishers in regular season play.

Forrest 4 17 14 15-40

MTCS 19 16 21 14-70

Forrest-(40) Donovan Murray 24, Ty Hengesbach 7, Jacob Rich 3, Dylan Jones 2, David Andrews 2, Korbin Brown 2.

Three-point goals-(4) Murray 3, Hengesbach.

Free throws-(12-21) Murray 7-13, Hengesbach 2-4, Rich 1-2, Brown 2-2.

MTCS-(70) Barr Ellenburg 18, Kevin Hall 13, Luke Howell 12, Trey Lashlee 7, Joseph Peck 5, Nate Howell 4, Ben Phillips 4, Hunter Vaughn 3, Steven Turnham 3, Trey Hickey 2.

Three-point goals-(6) Ellenburg 3, Hall 2, Turnham.

Free throws-(13-17) Hall 0-2, Ellenburg 3-3, Luke Howell 6-8, Lashlee 3-3, Peck 1-1.

Halftime score-MTCS 35, Forrest 21.