Perry County’s Brooks pours in 44 points to stun Forrest
Sometimes there is nothing you can do.
On Saturday at Chapel Hill, Perry County junior guard Chynia Brooks was unstoppable as she poured in 44 points in a 68-67 Class A State Sectional win over Forrest to lead the Lady Vikings to their second consecutive trip to the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s BlueCross State Basketball Championships.
“I told the girls a couple of weeks ago we might play a great game and lose and I think that’s what happened tonight,” Forrest coach Jeremy Jean said. “We could not stop Brooks no matter what we did.”
“We tried zoning, we tried double teaming, we tried everything, she was just unconscious and that’s the way she has been playing the last couple of weeks.”
Brooks converted 13 field goals, a pair of 3-pointers and went 12-for-19 from the free throw line in the contest.
“I was playing for the team, I wasn’t playing for myself---me and my team worked our hardest and tried our best,” Brooks said. “People said we couldn’t do it, so we were trying to prove everybody wrong and go back-to-back to the state tournament, something Perry County has never done.”
Perry County (18-15), who lost to Community in the first round last year, opens up the single elimination state tournament event versus eight-time state title holder Clarkrange (25-10) on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. at the Murphy Center in Murfreesboro.
Forrest had a chance to tie the game and send it to overtime at the end of regulation, but the second of two free throws by eighth-grader Laura Mealer was off the mark as time expired in the heartbreaking defeat for the Lady Rockets.
“That did not lose the game for us,” Jean said. “It was the first 31 minutes and 50 seconds when we didn’t get that offensive put-back or defensive rebound and just do the little things. They have been playing lights out lately and just outscored us.”
Caitlyn Yost scored 34 points in her last game for Forrest, who had easily handled the Lady Vikings twice in the regular season by an average margin of victory of 24.5 points.
At the outset of the game it looked like that pattern would be followed again as the Lady Rockets came out fired up by the huge standing room only crowd at Chapel Hill.
Yost scored 11 first quarter points as Forrest took a big 16-7 lead with Brooks scoring six in the stanza.
A Jaide Langley 3-pointer early in the second period boosted the Forrest lead to 10 points at 23-13 before Perry County mounted a comeback, beginning with a bank-in 3-pointer by Alle Hinson.
Brooks went on to score 11 out of Perry County’s next 13 points, including a steal and score on the last play of the first half the gave the Lady Vikings their first lead of the game at 30-29.
The third period began with a Kyleah Hengesbach three-point play the old fashioned way to put the Lady Rockets back in front.
The back and forth affair favored Forrest at 45-42 when Hengesbach nailed two free throws with less than a minute to go in the third quarter before Brooks hit back-to-back 3-pointers, including a buzzer beater to give the Lady Vikings a 48-45 lead, heading into the fourth quarter.
Brooks hit another long bomb to start the scoring in the final period as the Lady Vikings built a 10-point lead at 56-46, but the Lady Rockets fought back, cutting the lead in half on two Mealer free throws with two minutes remaining in the game.
Brooks came up with two free throws to stave off Forrest until Yost drilled a 3-pointer and was fouled, converting a four-point play after a successful free throw.
Katelyn Capps missed a pair of free throws at the other end for Perry County and Hengesbach made it a two-point game at 62-60 on one-of-two from the charity stripe.
Perry County hung tough and extended its lead to five points, but Yost was not finished, cutting the lead to three points on a jumper in the lane and after one free throw by Brooks, Yost nailed her final 3-pointer of her career, making it a one-point game at 66-65 with 3.7 seconds remaining in the contest.
Forrest took a timeout and fouled Brooks out of the stoppage with 1.5 seconds left, but the Perry County team and fans thought the game was over and rushed the court.
A technical foul was assessed on the Lady Vikings and after Brooks made both free throws on the Forrest foul, Yost made one of two to cut the lead to two-points and the Lady Rockets had the ball on an out of bounds throw in at midcourt with 1.5 seconds still on the clock.
Mealer caught the inbounds pass in the paint and was fouled with 0.5 remaining in the game and after making the first attempt, the second shot was just wide and the game was over, ending the Lady Rockets’ (26-8) season.
“I was hoping she (Mealer) was going to miss that second shot, I really was,” Brooks said.
“My kids never quit never, they never backed down and they kept fighting,” Jean said. “I’m gonna miss the heck out of those four seniors (Yost, Hengesbach, Dani Hoeft, Tamia Northcutt).
Perry County 7 23 18 20-68
Forrest 16 13 16 22-67
Perry County (68): Chynia Brooks 44, Alle Hinson 15, Jaycie Roberts 6, Katelynn Capps 2, Makayla Thornton 1
3-point goals (6): Hinson 3, Brooks 2, Roberts
Free throws (18-for-31): Brooks 12-for-19, Hinson 2-for-4, Capps 2-for-4, Roberts 1-for-2, Thornton 1-for-2
Forrest (67): Caitlyn Yost 34, Kyleah Hengesbach 19, Jaide Langley 6, Laura Mealer 5, Katey Harmon 3
3-point goals (3): Yost 3
Free throws (26-for-36): Hengesbach 11-for-15, Yost 9-for-11, Mealer 5-for-8, Harmon 1-for-2
Halftime score: Perry County 30, Forrest 29