Yost sends Lady Rockets to Lynchburg showdown

Friday, February 3, 2017
Forrest’s Caitlyn Yost (11), who scored a game-high 31 points versus Huntland Tuesday night at Chapel Hill, comes up with a crucial steal and score in the fourth quarter in the Lady Rockets’ 60-49 win.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Big time players step up huge in games when all the marbles are on the line and Forrest’s all-time leading scorer Caitlyn Yost showed why she is one of two Class A Miss Basketball favorites from the Mid-State as the Belmont signee poured in a game-high 31 points in the Lady Rockets’ 60-49 win over tenth-ranked Huntland Tuesday night at Chapel Hill.

“We had this swagger and confidence about us, even before the game started,” said Yost. “I know going into halftime it was 21-21 and basically starting a new game, but it never crossed our minds that we were ever going to lose.”

With the win, Yost and the Lady Rockets (20-5, 10-1) travel to Lynchburg tonight to face the other Class A Miss Basketball hopeful Kursten Hawkins and the third-ranked Moore County Raiderettes (19-2, 10-1) in a winner take all contest.

“It’s always tough to play there, you got their crazy fans, it’s real small so you can hear everyone screaming and you can barely hear what play you are running,” Yost said. “But, I’m not worried about it honestly because you can’t think about what everyone is saying and we beat them when they came here.”

Yost, who fouled out in the Forrest’s loss at Huntland earlier this season, turned up the heat as the game progressed, scoring two points in the first quarter, eight in the second, nine in the third and 12 the pivotal fourth period when she put the game away.

Forrest trailed late in the first quarter until Emma Stacey came off the pine and nailed a 3-pointer to give the Lady Rockets an 11-9 lead after the first eight minutes.

Grace Thrasher (44) turns and makes a move for two points in the low post versus the Lady Hornets.

The Lady Hornets played tough as nails in the second quarter, holding a 21-18 lead until a Yost basket made it a one-point game and seconds later, Yost was fouled and made one free throw to tie the game at 21 at the break.

Yost, Kyleah Hengesbach and Jaide Langley converted field goals to begin the second half, pushing Forrest’s lead to six points at 27-21.

Two more Yost free throws finished off an 8-0 run for Forrest, who led 29-21 before Huntland mounted a comeback.

Kara Smith nailed a 3-pointer to begin the Huntland surge and by the time Caylee McClennan scored in the low post with three minutes to play in the stanza, the Forrest lead was down to two points at 32-30.

Huntland standout Ali Golden, who led the Lady Hornets with 21 points scored to tie the game at 34 with 1:28 left in the period, but once again Yost would have none of it, banging down a 3-pointer to give Chapel Hill a 37-34 lead, entering the fourth quarter.

Two McClennan free throws kicked off the final eight minutes and the game remained close until midway through the quarter when the Lady Rockets took control behind Yost, who knocked in a rebound and put-back and followed it up with a steal and score three-point play, giving Forrest an eight-point lead 46-38.

After a Golden basket, Forrest put the game away when Yost ignited the crowd with a pass to eighth-grader Laura Mealer, who kissed it off the glass for two points.

Forrest sealed the deal with an 8-for-12 effort from the free throw line after the Mealer basket.

Huntland 9 12 13 15-49

Forrest 11 10 16 23-60

Huntland (49): Ali Golden 21, Caylee McClennan 16, Kara Smith 8, Tara Cates 2, Morgan Sims 2

3-point goals: Smith 2, Golden

Free throws (12-for-12): Golden 6-for-6, McClennan 6-for-6

Forrest (60): Caitlyn Yost 31, Kyleah Hengesbach 12, Jaide Langley 4, Laura Mealer 4, Grace Thrasher 4, Emma Stacey 3, Madison Curtis 2

3-point goals (4): Yost 2, Stacey, Hengesbach

Halftime score: Forrest 21, Huntland 21