Forrest drops Hall of Champions contests
The Forrest hoops squads opened the 2016 campaign at Chapel Hill in a Hall of Champions matchup versus Lincoln County Thursday night and both teams lost close games with the Lady Rockets falling 46-41, while the Rockets went down 63-57.
The Lady Rockets had a poor first half, scoring just 13 points compared to 34 for the Lady Falcons.
Foul trouble caused Forrest to shuffle players in early and by game's end, Lincoln County had converted 18-of-34 from the free throw line, while the Lady Rockets went 8-for-13 in the contest.
"I was ok with the way the first half went," Forrest coach Jeremy Jean said. "We had to sit three starters because they had two fouls apiece for most of the first half with the four more sitting the second quarter with two fouls. The bench really stepped up in the first half defensively and played ok offensively."
Forrest senior and Belmont signee Caitlyn Yost, already the school's leading scorer coming into the season needed 34 points in the contest to eclipse the 2,000 point mark for her career did not score in the first half.
Still down by 13 points at 30-19 midway through the third quarter, Yost and the Lady Rockets came to life, beginning with two consecutive Kyleah Hengesbach drives to the basket, followed by a Grace Thrasher bucket in the low post.
Brianna Faulkner countered for the Lady Falcons before Yost went downtown for a 3-pointer and the period ended with a Yost steal and score, making it 32-30, entering the fourth period.
"Getting in a big hole early wasn't how we wanted it, but in the second half we were able to get up and press and make some shots," Jean said.
Brooke Ferguson made two free throws for Lincoln to begin the fourth quarter, but a Madison Curtis 3-pointer cut the Lady Falcons' lead to a single digit.
A single free throw by the visitors was matched by a game tying basket by Yost with 6:08 remaining in the game and two minutes later, Yost put Forrest in front for the first time since the first possession of the game.
Millie Slayton came up with Lincoln County's only field goal of the fourth quarter and it was a big one via a 3-pointer that made it a 42-39 contest with 2:34 left in the game.
Lincoln County attempted 30 foul shots in the fourth quarter and the only thing that kept Forrest in the contest was the Lady Falcons' 19 misses on the charity shots.
"I am pleased with our overall effort," Jean said. "The girls played hard and never quit, which is the type of team that will always have a chance to win. It's hard to get any type of rhythm going when we are fouling every possession. We are the type of team that needs the game to keep going and not stopping."
After the Slayton 3-pointer, Forrest turned the ball over and had several chances down the stretch to cut into the Lincoln County lead, but they could not convert and fell by the five-point margin.
"We had plenty of chances to put them away, we just couldn't do it," Jean said. "We would make a run and then the onslaught of whistles would follow. We took the lead and then would let them penetrate on us and kick for an open shot, which to Lincoln County's credit, they made."
Yost, who led all scorers in the game with 15 points, broke the 2,000 point barrier with 20 points in the Lady Rockets' 78-55 win over Houston County Saturday night at the Creek Wood Hall of Champions event.
Yost will be honored for her achievements during the December 9 game versus Community at Forrest.
The Rockets also started slowly, falling behind by as many as eight points in the first quarter, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Ty Hengesbach and Ryley McClaran near the end of the period made it a 22-17 contest.
Lincoln County rebuilt its eight point lead in the second quarter, only to see it slip away as the Rockets dug in at the free throw line, hitting 5-of-7 to cut the Falcons' lead to 31-28.
A late 3-pointer by Holt Richardson gave Lincoln County a 34-28 lead at the half.
Lincoln County pulled away in the third period and led by as many as 15 points, but 3-pointers by Hengesbach and McClaran bookended a basket by Bailey to make it a 48-41 contest, entering the fourth quarter.
Lincoln County scored to begin the final eight minutes and then the Rockets went on a 10-0 tear, behind five points each by Jacob Rich and Sam Ford, giving Forrest its first lead of the game at 53-52.
Rouslan Gaines and Hengesbach traded baskets, but from there the Falcons ended the contest with an 8-3 run to put away the short-handed Rockets, who get six players back from the football team.
"It was a fun night to watch basketball, the boys played hard and followed the game plan," Forrest coach Randy Toombs said. "Just a few more breaks and we would have had them."
"The football guys give us a little more bench, so we just got ourselves in shape during conditioning to handle the absence of their support," Toombs added.
The Rockets got tough play in the low post from Everett (11 pts.) and Ford (5 pts.), while Hengesbach (14 pts.) and Austin Bailey (12 pts.) turned in a solid effort from the guard position.
"The post play was very encouraging, they battled some big guys and was successful for the most part," Toombs noted. "Hopefully, we can continue to build and let's just see what's ahead."
The Lady Rockets posted an 18-15 record last season and the Rockets finished 5-23.
Both squads will be busy over the holiday as Forrest hosts its annual Thanksgiving Tournament.
Lincoln County 10 14 8 14-46
Forrest 5 8 17 11-41
Lincoln County-Lauren Bradley 11, Millie Slayton 10, Brooke Ferguson 10, Brianna Faulkner 9, Carly Fee 4, Ally Hall 2
Three-point goals-Slayton 2, Ferguson 1
Free throws-Ferguson 7-for-10, Bradley 5-for-8, Slayton 2-for-2, Hall 2-for-6, Fee 2-for-8
Forrest-Caitlyn Yost 15, Kyleah Hengesbach 10, Madison Curtis 7, Sydney Hill 3, Grace Thrasher 2, Laura Ann Mealer 2, Jayde Langley 2
Three-point goals-Yost, Curtis
Free throws-Yost 2-for-2, Hengesbach 2-for-3, Langley 2-for-4, Curtis 1-for-2, Hill 1-for-1, Thrasher 0-for-2
Lincoln County 22 12 14 15-63
Forrest 17 11 13 16-57
Lincoln County-Seth Bertorelli 19, Noah Sapack 12, Zakyus Tate 9, Kyle Clem 6, Alex Susrzcynski 6, Holt Richardson 6, Rouslan Gaines 2, Taylor Gleghorn 2
Three-point goals-Sapack 4, Richardson
Free throws-Bertorelli 3-for-3, Clem 2-for-2, Tate 1-for-2, Richardson 1-for-3
Forrest-Ty Hengesbach 14, Austin Bailey 12, Sam Ford 11, Jacob Rich 7, Mitchell Everett 5, Ryley McClaran 5
Three-point goals-Hengesbach 3, McClaran, Bailey, Rich
Free throws-Ford 4-for-4, Everett 3-for-4, Bailey 3-for-6, Hengesbach 2-for-3, McClaran 2-for-4