Lady Rockets bounce back from Summertown loss

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Forrest senior Grace Thrasher led the Lady Rockets with 12 points in a 54-43 win Monday night at Chapel Hill over Lincoln County.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

After winning five straight games in the phone booth at Summertown, the Forrest Lady Rockets have lost four in a row, including a 65-50 road loss Friday night.

“Summertown is a very good team, they jumped on us quick and started the game on a 17-4 run,” Forrest coach Jeremy Jean said. “We had to burn two timeouts in the first six minutes to try to stay in the game.”

The Lady Eagles went on to build their lead to 32-10 in the second quarter, but Forrest came back to outscore Summertown the remainder of the game, something that gave much solace to Jean.

“I was proud of the girls battling their way back into the game and never quitting,” Jean stated. “I don't think this team really thinks about the last game we played. I feel like they just get focused on the task at hand.”

Forrest (7-3) refocused with a solid performance at home versus Lincoln County (2-7) Monday night, coming back from 24-20 halftime decit to win going away 54-43.

Ally Blanton lines up a 3-pointer in the third quarter for the Lady Rockets, who beat Lincoln County 54-43 Monday night at Chapel Hill.

Grace Thrasher had a big night, leading Forrest in scoring with 12 points and Carissa Curtis and Ally Blanton were also in double figures with 10 points apiece, while Jaide Langley had nine, Anna Blanton seven, Katey Harmon four, and Shea Lewis added two points to the balanced scoring attack.

“The girls have done a really good job of getting the ball to the open person all year long,” Jean said. “When we are all on the same page we can get the shots that we want.”

Forrest was also balanced on the boards with Thrasher pulling down five rebounds, Curtis and Harmon had four apiece, Ally Blanton had two and twin sis Anna had one rebound.

Lincoln County looked like a much better team on Monday than the one Forrest beat 48-22 earlier in the season as the Lady Falcons jumped out to 4-0 lead and never looked back in the first quarter, finishing the period with a 14-11 lead.

Lincoln County has improved since the last time we played them,” Jean said. “They did a good job taking care of the ball and running their offense to get the shots that they wanted.”

“We sent them to the line way too many times in the first half.”

Lincoln County went 8-for-8 from the free throw line in the first half, while the Lady Rockets went 6-for-9 in a bruising battle down low that resulted in Thrasher and Harmon picking up two fouls and going to the bench for a long time.

“Those two on the inside open things up for us on offense, with them sitting we got a little stagnant out there and struggled to make some shots,” Jean said. “Shea (Lewis) came in there in the second quarter and gave us some solid minutes. I was pleased with the way she played last night.”

Lewis did come up with a big bucket in the second period, cutting what was once an eight-point Lincoln County down to two points late before Amelia Kate Richardson made two free throws at the end of the first half for the Lady Falcons, who took a 24-20 lead to the locker room.

After a Lele Stubblefield basket to open the second half for Lincoln County, Forrest turned on the jets with an 11-4 run that was capped off by an Anna Blanton drive to hoop with three minutes remaining in the third quarter that gave the Lady Rockets a 31-30 lead.

Forrest never trailed again.

Freshman Carissa Curtis, who scored 10 points in the game, puts up a left-handed runner in the second half.

A Lincoln County missed shot out of a timeout turned into back-to-back baskets by Forrest, including a three-point play the old fashioned way when Curtis found Anna Blanton on the run for a layup and foul by the Lady Falcons that made it 35-30.

“I am pleased with the way we finished the game,” Jean said. “We picked up our game on the defensive end which helped get some fast break opportunities.”

One free throw later by Curtis and a rebound and put-back by Langley ended the Forrest run when Millie Slayton stole the ball and scored for Lincoln County to end the third quarter with the Lady Rockets in front 37-32.

The Lady Falcons did not quit, scoring the first seven points of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 37 before Thrasher took over, scoring four straight points in the paint.

That started a 9-0 run capped off on a long 3-pointer by Ally Blanton that gave Forrest a 48-41 lead with 3:02 remaining in the game.

“In the second half we were able to have Thrasher back in the game,” Jean said. “Teams are starting to game plan on her, doubling down from different places. That gives our guards some really open looks, which we can make.”

Langley buried a trey moments later and the Lady Rockets cruised to landing pad with the 11-point win.

Forrest has another tough game Friday at Chapel Hill when they take on Lewis County (5-2) before a road trip to Cascade on Tuesday.

Finding ways to win differently early is only going to help us for tournament time and we have done that,” Jean stated. “I hope that the second half defensive team shows up on Friday because Lewis County has some girls that can score the ball.”

“We have to do a good job communicating and helping on the defensive end, executing on the offensive end, and dominating the glass.”

Lincoln County 14 10 10 9-43

Forrest 10 10 17 17-54

Lincoln County (43): Ally Hall 11, Millie Slayton 10, Lucie Higgins 8, Amelia Kate Richardson 6, Lele Stubblefield 4, Madison Thomas 2

3-point Goals (1): Slayton

Free Throws (10-for-13): Hall 5-for-5, Richardson 2-for-2, Thomas 2-for-2, Slayton 1-for-4

Forrest (54): Grace Thrasher 12, Carissa Curtis 10, Ally Blanton 10, Jaide Langley 9, Anna Blanton 7, Katey Harmon 4, Shea Lewis 2

3-point Goals (3): Ally Blanton 2, Langley

Free Throws (9-for-14): Curtis 4-for-7, Langley 2-for-4, Thrasher 2-for-2, Anna Blanton 1-for-1

Halftime Score: Lincoln County 24, Forrest 20