Forrest Girls Basketball Preview
Lady Rockets looking for big things in 2017
It is always tough to lose two franchise players like Caitlyn Yost and Kyleah Hengesbach but lose two high-caliber players and make the move from 1A to 2A would be a tall challenge for any coach.
But one thing Forrest coach Jeremy Jean doesn't lack is confidence and after playing in possibly one of the toughest 1A districts in the state the past four years, the move to 2A might be easier than one might think.
"We played in one of the toughest single A districts in the state the last four years where every game was a battle," Jean stated. "I believe that will help us in our transition to double A. Our district schedule has three teams that won at least 20 games and made it to region semis, one final four team that returns everyone, and two teams that made it to the sub-state. Those games will definitely help us get ready for the district stretch after Christmas."
Losing Yost (freshman at Belmont), Hengesbach, and other senior leaders will affect the Lady Rockets in the scoring column but those former seniors left a strong nucleus of battle tested and highly talented returning players.
"You can’t replace a player on the floor like Caitlyn," Jean said. "We will have to have everyone step up a little more than last year to pick up some of the scoring we lost from her. Teams game-planned to stop her last year which helped free up everyone else on the floor."
"This year we will have to be a better passing and patient team to get great shots," Jean added. "We have some kids that can knock those down. The four seniors have grown into some great leaders since the summer. They all have a team first mindset."
Those four seniors have all played in some huge ballgames.
Katey Harmon has started the majority of the games over the past two seasons and provides toughness in the post and a finesse, mid-range game.
Harmon will have to score more often if the Lady Rockets want to be successful.
Grace Thrasher has been the constant low post presence for Forrest the past two years with huge games against great competition.
Thrasher features an improved mid-range game to go along with a gritty presence down as she often led the team in rebounds and blocks.
The back court will feature the battle tested duo of Emma Stacey and Madison Curtis.
Both guards were thrust into action early in their Rocket careers and Jean hopes that experience will give the Forrest seniors an added advantage.
Both are quality outside shooters and both can handle the ball in pressure situations.
"With only 11 players total, everyone will be counted on to step up their play," Jean stressed. "We have four seniors, three, Madison Curtis, Grace Thrasher, and Kathy Harmon, which have started at least 25 games in their careers and one, Emma Stacey, that has been counted upon to come in and play some major minutes the last two years, and had the pressure of having to knock down some big threes."
The Lady Rockets put out a very talented sophomore class with the Blanton twins (Ally and Anna), Jaide Langley and Shea Lewis.
Langley transferred from Community after middle school and quickly gained a spot in the rotation as a freshman.
Langley can score points in bunches and will remind Forrest fans of Yost with the strong inside-outside game.
The Blantons gained plenty of playing time off the bench as freshman, but will now be part of the main game plan.
Both can drive and shoot -and will be counted on to handle the ball.
"Our four sophomores, Jaide Langley, Ally Blanton, Anna Blanton, and Shea Lewis will have to grow up quick and play like veterans," Jean stated. "The lone sophomore that has experience at starting high school games is Jaide, and she is out for an undetermined amount of time."
"Ally and Anna played some meaningful minutes last year which should help with speeding up their growth on the floor. Shea played in all but a few games last year. She will be counted upon to back up Grace, as they are our only two true post players."
The most recognized name in the freshman class is Laura Ann Mealer, who had an amazing season as just an eighth-grader.
Mealer cracked the starting lineup after just a few games and became the second or third scoring option in the Lady Rockets line-up.
Unfortunately, Mealer will probably miss her freshman season after surgery.
The other two freshman, Carissa Curtis and Cassidy Stewart will have to grow up fast with a small roster to start the season.
"We have three freshmen, Mealer who started the last half of last year, Cassidy Stewart and Carissa Curtis," Jean said. "Mealer is out for the year with having a shoulder surgery in October. She will be out six months.”
“Carissa will be our starting point guard and will be expected to pick up where Hengesbach left off last year. Being a solid point guard that takes care of the ball and makes some shots."
The Lady Rockets first year in a new district will be a tough one.
The top dog in 2017-18 will be county neighbor Marshall County High School.
The Lady Rockets and Tigerettes face off in Chapel Hill on January 16 and in Lewisburg on February 2.
The two teams have combined for five state championships and countless state tournament appearances, but rarely play each other.
The other District 6AA members are second-year program Nolensville, Giles County, Murfreesboro Central Magnet, and former district rival Community.
44 Grace Thrasher
22 Madison Curtis
5 Emma Stacey
14 Katey Harmon
12 Jaide Langley
20 Ally Blanton
4 Anna Blanton
35 Shea Lewis
23 Laura Ann Mealer
11 Carissa Curtis
21 Cassidy Stewart
|Thursday, Nov. 16||at Loretto (HOF)||L 35-56|
|Saturday, Nov. 18||Montgomery Cen. (HOF) W 61-46|
|Monday, Nov. 20||at Lincoln County W 48-22|
|Wednesday, Nov. 22||Creek Wood (Forrest Thanksgiving Tournament) L 27-45|
|Wednesday, Nov. 22||Cascade (Forrest Thanksgiving Tournament) W 70-33|
|Thursday, Nov. 30||at Perry County||W 63-53|
|Friday, December 1||at Lewis County||W 57-54|
|Tuesday, December 5||McEwen||W 56-36|
|Friday, December 8||at Summertown|
|Monday, December 11||Lincoln County|
|Friday, December 15||Lewis County|
|Tuesday, December 19||at Cascade|
|Friday, December 22||Cheatham County|
Thursday, December 28 Houston County (10 a.m.-Summertown Christmas Classic)
|Friday, December 29||Moore County (6 p.m.-Summertown Christmas Classic)|
|Tuesday, January 9||Giles County (D)|
|Friday, January 12||Nolensville (D)|
|Tuesday, January 16||Marshall County (D)|
|Friday, January 19||at Community (D)|
|Tuesday, January 23||at Murfreesboro Central Magnet (D)|
|Friday, January 26||at Giles County (D)|
|Tuesday, January 30||at Nolensville (D)|
|Friday, February 2||at Marshall County (D)|
|Saturday, February 3||Perry County|
|Tuesday, February 6||Community|
|Friday, February 9||Murfreesboro Central Magnet|
|February 12-19||District 5AA Tournament|
|February 23-28||Region 6AA Tournament|
|March 3||State Sectionals|
|March 7-10||State Tournament|