Slow start grounds Lady Rockets vs. MTCS

Friday, February 19, 2016
The Forrest starters are all smiles before their District 9-A Tournament battle with MTCS Thursday night at Chapel Hill. Photos by Anthony S. Puca

On March 1, 2010 the Middle Tennessee Christian School Lady Cougars broke a an almost decade long losing streak versus Forrest when they pulled off an upset win at East Robertson in the Region 5-A semifinals and since then, the Lady Rockets have lost 8-of-13 to the Murfreesboro private school.

The latest setback came via a sluggish 55-42 loss at Chapel Hill Thursday night in the District 9-A semifinals, sending the Lady Rockets to the consolation game versus Eagleville.

Still going

"The only silver lining is that we are still playing and we get an Eagleville team that is playing really well right now," said Jean. "So we will have to come out and play well with them. Win or lose we get to go on the road and play in the region."

Forrest (18-14) enters the first round of the Region 5-A Tournament Friday night at 7 versus a tough McEwen (20-5) squad that finished in second place in the District 10-A


Hailey Collins looks for some room to get to the basket, but couldn't find much against the stingy MTCS that gave up just nine first half points.

"10-A has a couple of really good teams that we may face, but I feel like we will have the upper hand by coming out of this district," Jean said. "Every game against the top five teams in our district has been a battle and that will help us in the region. I feel like we are a battle tested team that despite last night's game can make a deep run in the tourney."

Opening shot

Hailey Collins knocked down a 3-pointer to open the contest for Forrest and moments later, Abby Buckner matched the Collins trey before both squads went ice cold from the floor.

The Lady Rockets were without the services of leading scorer Caitlyn Yost, who got into some very early foul trouble and sat on the pine for the remainder of the first half.

MTCS broke a late 5-5 tie on a Camden Adams 3-pointer to take a three-point 8-5 lead to the second quarter where Buckner drilled a long bomb to open the scoring in the period.

"Playing the first half without Yost hurt us on the offensive end," Jean said. "Then when Kyleah (Hengesbach) also picked up her second foul in the first half it put us behind the eight ball. That took our two primary ball handlers out of the game until the second half."

MTCS advances

Emma Self made it 13-5 moments later on a low post basket before Katey Harmon hit one free throw for Forrest and Collins canned another 3-pointer after an MTCS missed shot, cutting the Lady Cougars' lead to 13-9.

"Haily did a good job of stepping in to that roll of being the point and also knocked down our only field goals of the first half," Jean said.

Kyleah Hengesbach gets ready to inbound the ball versus the Lady Cougars, who beat Forrest 55-42 in a District 9-A semifinal Thursday night at Chapel Hill.

A Kayla Taylor pull-up jumper for the orange and white was the final field goal of the first half and MTCS garnered three more points on one free throw by Adams and a pair of late charity tosses by Buckner, making it 18-9 at the intermission.

"But at the half down 18-9, I felt that we were in great shape and we played great defense on a really good offensive team for the first half," Jean stated. "We were able to control the tempo more in the first half than the second."

Another foul

MTCS built its lead to as many as 15 points in the third quarter and with 2:43 to play in the period, Yost picked up her fourth foul on a charging call with the Lady Cougars up 28-17.

Forrest came back strong, going on a 7-1 run to cut the lead to 29-24 on a Kyleah Hengesbach 3-pointer and the home town girls could have come all the way back if not for a poor 6-for-13 performance from the free throw line in the period, setting off a dismal 11-for-30 night from the foul line.

"Anytime you lose a game, there a couple of stats that really stand out. One is free throws, we were 11-for-30. If we make some of those, it is a completely different game in the fourth quarter. The second is missed layups. We missed nine. That's a possibility of 18 points if we make them," Jean said. "The third stat is turnovers. We had 19 and they were in the half court. If we cut those in half than we have more opportunities to score."

Behind to stay

Buckner hit a driving layup to end the third quarter with MTCS up 31-24 and the Lady Rockets would not get any closer than that same seven-point margin the rest of the game.

MTCS' Class A Miss Basketball finalist Ashlynd Wilkerson led all scorers in the contest with 17 points, while Buckner, Yost and Hengesbach were the only other players posting doubles figures with 10 points apiece.

Forrest 5 4 15 18-42

MTCS 8 10 13 24-55

Forrest-Kyleah Hengesbach 10, Caitlyn Yost 10, Hailey Collins 6, Tamia Northcutt 5, Krista Chapman 4, Katey Harmon 3, Madison Curtis 3, Sydney Hill 1.

3-point goals-Collins 2, Hengesbach 1, Yost 1, Curtis 1.

Free throws-Collins 0-2, Hengesbach 3-11, Northcutt 3-6, Yost 3-4, Harmon 1-5, Hill 1-2.

MTCS-Ashlynd Wilkerson 17, Abby Buckner 10, Camden Adams 9, Kayla Taylor 7, Mary Claire Dutton 6, Emma Self 6.

3-point goals-Adams 2, Buckner 2.

Free throws-Dutton 2-2, Taylor 3-4, Adams 1-2, Buckner 2-2, Self 4-7, Wilkerson 3-5.

Halftime score-MTCS 18, Forrest 9.

District 9-A Consolation game

Saturday, February 20

Eagleville 7 7 10 14-38

Forrest 9 12 9 19-49

Eagleville-Ryleigh Cobb 14, Kristin Barnes 8, Allison Lynch 5, Alli Burns 5, Chelsea Scott 3.

3-point goals-Barnes 1, Burns 1.

Forrest-Caitlyn Yost 19, Kyleah Hengesbach 17, Hailey Collins 9, Katey Harmon 2.

3-point goals-Yost 3.

Halftime score-Forrest 21, Eagleville 14.