Rockets scare Eagles before falling
After losing at Eagleville by 20 points on December 21, the Forrest Rockets looked like they would pull out a win over their longtime District 9A foe, but it was not meant to be as the Eagles came back to win 72-70 to capture their fourth win in a row over Chapel Hill.
"That was one of our best efforts, I would say in top three as far as effort goes," Forrest coach Randy Toombs said. "They played hard and some of them didn't fall in or fall in our hands."
Brandon Kelley poured in 31 points for the Eagles, including three 3-pointers and a sparkling 13-for-14 performance from the free throw line.
"I tried to tell them not what to do with him (Kelley) and they didn't do it and he took over in the second half," said Toombs. "He hurt us, he hurt us bad."
The Rockets had three players score in double figures with David Andrews leading the way with 20 points.
Donovan Murray had 19 points, one trey and hit all four of his free throw attempts and Korbin Brown netted 15 points with one 3-pointer and went 2-for-4 from the charity stripe.
The Rockets played inspired from the outset, leading 4-3 early before Andrews and Brown scored on back-to-back possessions in the low post, making it 8-3.
Late in the first period, Forrest broke up a close game at 10-7 by the same duo's input with Andrews and Brown coming through late to make it 14-7 after the first eight minutes.
An Andrews' steal and score to begin the second period gave Forrest its biggest lead of the game at nine points and the Chapel Hill boys would maintain that same margin when Ty Hengesbach nailed a 3-pointer to make it 26-17.
Eagleville would mount a serious comeback, scoring eight unanswered points before two late free throws by Murray gave the Rockets a 28-25 lead at the intermission.
A Kelley 3-pointer capped off an early 5-2 mini-run for Eagleville, tying the game at 30 at the outset of the second half.
Murray answered the Eagleville run with a long bomb and after a bucket by the visitors, Andrews scored in the low post, making it 37-33.
Kelley knocked in the next four points as the Eagles went on a 7-0 run to take a 40-37 lead, but Forrest dug in, scoring four straight to take its last lead of the game at 41-40.
After that, Eagleville took the momentum, ripping through an 11-4 run to end the third quarter leading 51-45.
Marc Stoudmire hit two foul shots for the Eagles to begin the fourth quarter and Austin Bailey matched the pair of charity shots for the Rockets.
An Eagleville turnover led to a Murray score and Bailey came up with a steal and fed Murray for a fast break bucket, cutting the Eagleville lead to 53-51.
The Eagles soared with a 15-2 run, taking a 10-point lead and it looked like the Rockets were done, but not just yet.
We brought it back and got back into by getting some stops and some good looks," said Toombs.
An Andrews basket in the low post with 40 seconds left cut the Eagleville lead to 68-66.
Three Kelley free throws and one by Hengesbach, plus a Korbin bucket made it 71-69 before a crucial Eagleville turnover gave Hengesbach a good look from the wing, and the ball went in before tantalizingly spinning out and the Eagles survived the Forrest scare.
"Was that close or what, he shot it right in front of me and when he let it go, I thought it was in," Toombs stated. "72-to-70, it stinks."
Eagleville 7 18 26 21-72
Forrest 14 14 17 25-70
Eagleville-(72) Brandon Kelley 31, Graham Hatcher 10, Marc Strickland 9, Austin Strickland 7, Eric Hawks 5, Matt Boyett 4, Garrett Parker 4, Evan Rives 2.
Three-point goals- (5) Kelley 3, Hatcher, Marc Strickland.
Free throws-(31-39) Kelley 13-14, Boyett 3-4, Hatcher 5-6, Marc Stoudmire 4-4, Hawks 1-4, Austin Strickland 1-3, Parker 4-4.
Forrest-(70) David Andrews 20, Donovan Murray 19, Korbin Brown 15, Dylan Jones 6, Ty Hengesbach 4, Jacob Rich 4, Austin Bailey 2, Ryley McClaran 1.
Three-point goals-(3) Murray, Brown, Hengesbach.
Free throws-(16-30) Murray 4-4, McClaran 1-2, Brown 2-4, Hengesbach 1-2, Bailey 2-6, Rich 4-6, Jones 0-1, Andrews 2-5.
Halftime score-Forrest 28, Eagleville 25.