Eagles take district win at Forrest

Friday, December 23, 2016
Tim Elliot drives to the hoop for two first half points in the Rockets' 61-35 loss to Eagleville Friday night. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Rockets went down to their ninth consecutive defeat of the season Friday night at Chapel Hill, falling to Eagleville 61-35.

"It was a real tough loss," Forrest coach Randy Toombs said. "Eagleville was much more athletic than I thought."

The Rockets fell behind early, trailing 11-2 before making a 6-3 mini-run on baskets by Tim Elliot, Ryley McClaran and Martin Stewart to cut the Eagleville lead to 14-8 at the end of the first quarter.

Eagleville's Eric Hawks, who led all scorers in the contest with 22 points scored eight points in the second period and Austin Strickland banged home two out of his 3-pointers in the game as the Eagles pulled out to a big 31-14 halftime lead.

"The first half was ok, we are just still not matching teams with shot for shot and we are still not getting the boards like we should," Toombs stated. "They were very athletic and fast and are a very good defensive team."

Eagleville kept pounding away at the Rockets to open a huge 24-point lead at 40-16, but there was no quit in Forrest as they tallied seven straight points on field goals by Dylan Watt and Ty Hengesbach, plus a 3-pointer by Ryley McClaran.

After an Eagleville bucket McClaran banged home another trey, but the Rutherford County squad pulled away again to lead 45-26 after three periods.

Dylan Watt makes a move on an Eagleville defender before scoring two points in the third quarter.

A 16-9 fourth quarter deficit did not help the cause as Forrest (1-13, 0-4) lost its fourth district game of the year and are next to last in the District 9A standings with winless Moore County (0-11, 0-4.)

"We have a very big hole to dig out of but we were here last year, we will just take them one at a time," Toombs said. "We will go to Lincoln County and then Gatlinburg for three games against teams we don't know and see how we do."

The Rockets have a chance to make some headway after the holidays as they play seven district games in January.

"Keeping them up is the most difficult issue at the moment because some of them aren't used to having roles that matter," Toombs stated. "It makes it difficult to point out the importance of team unity and why it is very important everything be kept within the locker room."

Toombs went on to talk about some of the issues surrounding keeping a team together when it seems to be imploding due to outside forces.

"If you allow those around you to have opinions that can change your focus within the team, you've lost," the coach said. "You can't look at excuses but look forward to the next contest to show how determined you are to put the team ahead of all other personal wants and not allow others who have absolutely nothing to do with your performance on the floor affect you."

"The keys to turning it around are to stay focused on the goal and put five fingers together to make a fist together. We will work through this together or separately we will all fail. We will play our best five versus their best five and all I ask for is effort!"

Eagleville 14 17 14 16-61

Forrest 8 6 12 9-35

Eagleville (61): Eric Hawks 22, Austin Strickland 21, Ethan Cobb 10, Austin Davenport 4, Graham Hatcher 3, Cody Pepper 1

3-point goals (6): Strickland 4, Hatcher, Davenport

Free throws (12-for-24): Hawks 4-for-5, Cobb 4-for-7, Pepper 2-for-3, Davenport 1-for-2, Strickland 1-for-3, Hatcher 0-for-2, Chevy Smith 0-for-2

Forrest (35): Ryley McClaran 17, Martin Stewart 6, Ty Hengesbach 4, Cole Villazon 2, Tim Elliot 2, Mitchell Everett 2, Dylan Watt 2

3-point goals (3): McClaran 3

Free throws (0-for-3): Everett 0-for-2, Elliot 0-for-1

Halftime score: Eagleville 31, Forrest 14

Forrest at Lincoln County

Monday, December 19

Forrest 12 6 12 6-36

Lincoln County 15 21 23 8-67

Forrest (36): Martin Stewart 13, Sam Ford 8, Ty Hengesbach 6, Jacob Rich 4, Ryley McClaran 5

Lincoln County (67): Seth Bertorelli 25, Zakyus Tate 18, Devin Gifford 8, Noah Sapach 5, Rouslan Gaines 4, Taylor Gleghorn 4, Kyle Clem 2, Alex Susczynski 2, Adam Susczynski 2, Ben Bassham 2

Halftime score: Lincoln County 36, Forrest 18