Yost makes surprise return in win over Eagleville

Friday, December 23, 2016
Caitlyn Yost made a surprise return to the lineup Friday night and scored a game-high 16 points. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Santa Claus came to town Friday night in Chapel Hill and he delivered an early present to the Lady Rockets as senior all-time leading scorer Caitlyn Yost made a surprise return to the Forrest lineup after projections for a hand injury had her out until the New Year.

Yost scored a game-high 16 points in her return, leading the Lady Rockets to a solid 46-31 win over visiting Eagleville.

"Caitlyn told me Wednesday that she felt better and tried to practice, but we didn't let her because she wasn't released from the doctor yet," Forrest coach Jeremy Jean said. "I saw her at school Friday morning and she hands me a release to play, so it was an early Christmas present for us."

Forrest was fired up from the start, while Eagleville looked a little shaken as they probably did not anticipate Yost to be available and had a different game plan.

"I'm sure that they weren't planning on her playing, but they saw her in warmups and knew then," Jean stated.

Katey Harmon scored the first five points for the Lady Rockets before Eagleville scored its lone bucket of the first quarter on a Ryleigh Cobb basket in the low post.

From there, Forrest turned up the defensive pressure on Eagleville, forcing bad shots and not letting up on the press.

"We did a good job defensively the whole night, especially the first quarter at making them take contested shots and shots that we wanted them to take," Jean said. "We knew that they would be pounding the ball inside to Cobb."

Cobb finished as the lone Eagleville player in double figures with 14 points.

"She is a really good post player, one of the best around, so we worked on trying to make her really work for everything that she got," the coach added.

Kyleah Hengesbach comes up with a second half steal and races in for a layup in the Lady Rockets' 46-31 win over Eagleville Friday night at Chapel Hill.

Forrest scored eight additional points in the first period as Grace Thrasher and Yost converted two free throws apiece, freshman Laura Mealer skied for a basket in the paint and senior Kyleah Hengesbach came up with a steal and score.

Yost nailed a basket to start the second period before Eagleville made a comeback with a 9-0 run, but the Lady Rockets reopened an eight-point lead at 21-13 by halftime with some more pressure defense and baskets by Harmon and Madison Curtis, plus two more Thrasher free throws.

The Lady Rockets continued with some more strong play in the third quarter, especially on the defensive end as they outscored Eagleville 9-4 in the period to take a 30-17 lead to the fourth quarter.

"We did make it hard on them to get open shots I feel like all night and that is one of the biggest things that we try to do every night," Jean said.

Yost scored four points in the third period before exploding for eight in the fourth as Forrest calmly put way the Lady Eagles in the 15-point win.

"We did a nice job of stopping their runs as soon as they got started, which helped us keep the double-digit lead," Jean said. "We couldn't get any outside shots to fall, which kept us from getting bigger runs, but a lot of that though was due to Eagleville's defense. They did a great job of not letting us get into a rhythm the whole game."

Harmon had a solid game, scoring eight points as she seemed to be all over the place and Jean was quick to praise the junior's effort.

"Katey played really well and take away the Summertown game, which she was sick in and tried to play, she's had back-to-back really good games with Community and Eagleville," Jean said. "Both of those teams have two bigs and like to pound it inside. Katey does a good job at not only defending her girl, but doubling down and making it hard on both of the opponents' bigs to score."

After a game at Lincoln County on Monday to complete the home and away series with the Lady Falcons, Forrest embarks to Gatlinburg where they will play in the 2016 Smoky Mountain Basketball Christmas Tournament at Gatlinburg-Pitman High School in an area that was ravaged by wildfires.

Over the past three home games, the Forrest Basketball Booster Club raised $2,550 through concession sales and a bake sale and that money will go to the residents of the East Tennessee area.

"I think that the money raised for them is a great thing, not only for the teams, but for the community and it shows that these teams are selfless and think about helping others," Jean stated. "Last Sunday we went shopping for an angel tree child instead of swapping gifts with each other. These girls are not only good athletes, but really kind hearted good people. They are a blast to not only coach, but to be around."

After the holiday, the games will be intense as District 9A play goes into full swing with Forrest (11-2, 4-0), Moore County (10-1, 4-0) and Huntland (12-1, 4-0) all vying for the top spot in league play.

"If we can take care of business, it would put us in a good spot after the first time through district play," Jean said. "We are getting to play some really good teams over the holidays to get us ready for those two games. We should be prepared for them both."

Eagleville 2 11 4 14-31

Forrest 13 8 9 16-46

Eagleville (31): Ryleigh Cobb 14, Tori Laidig 9, Karah Snell 4, Makaya Moates 4

Free throws (7-for-14): Cobb 4-for-7, Laidig 3-for-3, Moates 0-for-2, Emily Domer 0-for-2

3-point goals (0)

Forrest (46): Caitlyn Yost 16, Kyleah Hengesbach 12, Katey Harmon 8, Grace Thrasher 4, Jaide Langley 2, Madison Curtis 2, Laura Mealer 2

3-point goals (0)

Free throws (12-for-21): Thrasher 4-for-4, Hengesbach 4-for-6, Yost 2-for-3, Harmon 2-for-6, Mealer 0-for-2

Halftime score: Forrest 21, Eagleville 13

Forrest at Lincoln County

Monday, December 19

Forrest 14 9 19 15-57

Lincoln County 13 12 14 8-47

Forrest (57): Jaide Langley 17, Caitlyn Yost 12, Kyleah Hengesbach 11, Katey Harmon 5, Laura Mealer 5, Grace Thrasher 4, Emma Stacey 3

Lincoln County (47): Brianna Faulkner 16, Millie Slayton 10, Brook Ferguson 10, Lauren Bradley 6, Carly Fee 3, Carley Andrews 2