FMS Lady Rockets cap off undefeated regular season

Friday, December 16, 2016
Jenna Blanton (3) races in for a layup to give FMS a 9-7 lead in the second quarter. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The FMS Lady Rockets knew coming into Thursday night's game versus Cascade that keeping their undefeated mark for the season would be a tough task versus a Lady Champions squad that had taking them to the limit on November 3 in a one-point win at Wartrace.

And it played out that way as the contest was nip and tuck the entire way to the final horn with the Lady Rockets eking out a 34-30 win to move to 18-0 on the year and an undefeated regular season Duck River Valley Conference record.

The Lady Rockets opened up the DRVC tournament on Monday with a 37-24 second round win over Liberty night and will take on Community in Thursday night's second round at Cascade.

Cascade held an early 6-5 lead over Forrest on Thursday before a Jenna Blanton steal and score gave the Lady Rockets a one-point lead at the end of the first period.

The second quarter was just as big a battle as the first with both teams performing solidly at both ends of the floor and FMS held firm for much of the period, but a late basket by Caroline Stone tied the game at 13.

Once again FMS took the lead on one Karley Daughrity free throw with 2.5 seconds remaining in the first half.

Blanton and Kylie Calvert exchanged baskets to kick off the second half before an Amanda Jett bucket in the low post was followed by two Carissa Curtis free throws, giving Forrest their biggest lead of the night at 20-15 and forcing a Cascade timeout with 2:29 remaining in the third quarter.

The Lady Champs stormed out of the stoppage as Eli Chumbley drilled a 3-pointer and moments later, Calvert tied the game with a basket in the paint.

Jett, who had an incredible all-around game, came up with a three-point play the old fashioned way with 17.5 seconds left in the period, giving the Lady Rockets a 23-20 lead, entering the final six minutes.

And what a six minutes it was.

FMS held on as the Lady Champs kept knocking on the door, cutting the Forrest lead to one-point on a Chumbley free throw before Curtis nailed the Lady Rockets' lone 3-pointer of the game to make it 27-23.

Chumbley hit two free throws and after a Community timeout followed by a Forrest turnover, the Lady Champions grabbed the lead on a Lani Jones 3-pointer with 1:55 remaining in the game.

Amanda Jett (20) comes up with the game changing steal and score with 1:12 remaining in the ballgame versus Cascade Thursday night at Chapel Hill.

A Forrest missed shot at the other end of the floor put a dark cloud on the unbeaten season, but out of nowhere, Jett stole the ball on the home sideline and beat two Cascade players down the floor for the go-ahead layup with 1:12 left in the battle.

An offensive foul on Cascade gave the ball back to FMS and Blanton went to the free throw line for a one-and-one opportunity with 21.8 seconds left.

Blanton missed the front end, but came up with the rebound, knocked it back home and was fouled.

Blanton made the free throw to put FMS up 32-28 and after a Jones basket, Curtis sealed the perfect DRVC record, canning both ends of a one-and-one with 3.7 second left in the game to finish off the scoring.

Curtis led all scorers in the contest with 12 points, while Blanton and Jones had 11 points apiece.

Cascade (14-4) 6 7 7 10-30

Forrest (18-0) 7 7 9 11-34

Cascade (30): Lani Jones 11, Kylie Calvert 8, Eli Chumbley 7, Caroline Stone 4

3-point goals (4): Jones 3, Chumbley

Free throws (4-for-6): Jones 3-for-3, Chumbley 1-for-3

Forrest (34): Carissa Curtis 12, Jenna Blanton 11, Amanda Jett 9, Karley Daughrity 1, Cassidy Stewart 1

3-point goals (1): Curtis

Free throws (9-for-15): Curtis 5-for-5, Blanton 1-for-2, Daughrity 1-for-3, Jett 1-for-3, Stewart 1-for-2

Halftime score: FMS 14, Cascade 13