Lady Rockets soar late in 9A road win against Eagleville

Friday, January 27, 2017
Caitlyn Yost knocks down two of her game-high 25 points in the Lady Rockets' 50-44 win at Eagleville Tuesday night. Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Lady Rockets made the short trek to Eagleville Tuesday and came away with 50-44 lunch pail win.

"Anytime we play Eagleville it is going to be a dogfight," Forrest coach Jeremy Jean said. "They were ready to play and made us do some things we haven't done in the past."

Class A Miss Basketball hopeful and Belmont signee Caitlyn Yost followed up her 38-point effort at Community on Friday with 25 points at Eagleville, including three 3-pointers and a stellar 8-for-9 effort from the free throw line.

"I believe that she is very deserving of being a Miss Basketball candidate," Jean stated. "Her averages for the season are as good as anyone around----20 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and one steal per game and there are seven games this year were she has played less than 10 minutes because of being up so much."

"She has four games of 30 points are more and could've been more if we left her in those seven games to pad her stats, but that isn't what we do."

Yost's classmate Kyleah Hengesbach scored all nine of her points in the contest in the pivotal fourth quarter with the big blow coming on a long bomb with just over two minutes to go, giving Forrest its biggest lead of the game at seven points.

"She (Kyleah) has played really well as of late, knowing when to attack and get hers and when to get the ball to the right places for others to get some easy shots," Jean said.

Madison Curtis banged home a 3-pointer to start the contest that would be nip and tuck the entire way.

After two Jaide Langley free throws gave Forrest a 9-6 lead with one minute remaining in the first quarter, Eagleville's Coley Whittley drained a 3-pointer as the period ended tied at nine.

Grace Thrasher (44) fights for the ball with several Eagleville players in the first half.

The Lady Eagles held a slim lead twice in the second quarter, but each time the Lady Rockets came up with some transition buckets, starting midway through the period on back-to-back fast break buckets by Yost and Grace Thrasher.

Eagleville cut the lead to two points late, but a pair of free throws by Yost, who was fouled attempting a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer gave Forrest a 25-21 lead at the break.

Thrasher scored in the low post to begin the second half and Forrest led the entire period until a late Ryleigh Cobb basket put Eagleville in front 30-29 with 30 seconds left in the third quarter.

Forrest set up a play and the perfect execution paid off when Yost broke free from a screen and buried a midrange jump shot, making it a 31-30 contest, entering the fourth quarter.

A Whittley 3-pointer kicked off the final eight minutes, giving Eagleville their last lead of the game at 33-31.

Forrest went on an 8-0 run after the Whittley trey, begging with two Yost free throws and ending on a Langley rebound and put-back with four minutes remaining in the contest.

Kyleah Hengesbach drills a 3-pointer with just over two minutes to play, giving Forrest a seven-point lead.

Tori Laidig scored in the low post for Eagleville before Hengesbach drained the back-breaking 3-pointer from the top of the key, putting the Lady Rockets in control at 42-35.

The Lady Eagles did not quit, going on a 7-2 run to cut the Forrest lead to two points at 44-42 with 31 seconds remaining in the game.

Yost was fouled and calmly buried two free throws and after an Eagleville turnover, Hengesbach drained four more down the stretch to put the game away.

"I'm really proud of the way the girls answered everything thrown at them," Jean said. "Every time they made a run we would get a big stop and score. That's what it is all about at this point of the year."

The Lady Rockets (18-5, 9-1) are still tied with Huntland (21-3, 9-1) and Moore County (18-2, 9-1) for first place in the District 9A standings that will be decided next week as all three schools play their final two league games before the district tournament commences at Huntland on February 11.

"I think it (the break) is going to help us, maybe we can get healthy," Jean said. "We haven't had everyone healthy in our rotation since before Christmas and getting healthy is the biggest key during this mini-break."

Forrest 9 16 6 19-50

Eagleville 9 12 9 14-44

Forrest (50): Caitlyn Yost 25, Kyleah Hengesbach 9, Jaide Langley 6, Grace Thrasher 6, Madison Curtis 4

3-point goals (5): Yost 3, Hengesbach, Curtis

Free throws (17-for-20): Yost 8-for-9, Hengesbach 6-for-6, Langley 2-for-2, Curtis 1-for-2, Thrasher 0-for-1

Eagleville (44): Ryleigh Cobb 15, Coley Whittley 12, Emily Domer 6, Tori Laidig 6, Makaya Moates 5

3-point goals (4): Whittley 3, Moates

Free throws (4-for-5): Cobb 3-for-4, Whittley 1-for-1

Halftime score: Forrest 25, Eagleville 21