Lady Rockets go coast-to-coast over Giles County
After a 10 day layoff and still stinging from a pair of losses at the Summertown Christmas Tournament, the Forrest Lady Rockets got back on track at home via a 57-46 coast-to-coast win in the District 12-AA opener versus Giles County.
“We didn't play like we are capable of playing over Christmas and dropped two that we could've won, but losing those two helped us win last night,” Forrest coach Jeremy Jean said. “We didn't execute late in those games and last night we did.”
“We were focused on both ends of the floor almost the entire night and only had a few times where we had a letdown, but we didn't let those plays carry over. They had ‘next play’ mentality.”
Forrest had three players in double figures in the scoring column with sophomore Carissa Curtis leading the way with 18 points, while Grace Thrasher had 15 and Ally Blanton scored 13 points.
A Katey Harmon 3-pointer from the top of the key and a Curtis jumper gave Forrest a quick 5-0 lead before Tee Hollingsworth made a 3-pointer for the Lady Bobcats.
Forrest ripped off nine consecutive points to take a 14-3 lead and looked to be on their way to a first quarter blowout, but Giles County came back strong with an 11-2 run to end the quarter, including a buzzer beating 3-pointer by Alexis Rose to make it a 16-14 contest.
“The girls came out ready to play and started the game on a nice run,” Jean said. “We were taking great shots and locking down on the defensive end.”
“We had a chance to blow it open and didn't because we started getting our shots blocked and not getting defensive rebounds.”
Blanton banged home a 3-pointer to begin the second quarter for Forrest and Bri Brown scored for Giles County before Thrasher went to work in the low post, scoring six out of the next eight points in the game to take 23-16 lead.
“Grace has been steady for us all year inside,” Jean said. “The only time she hasn't been is when she is in foul trouble, which is why it is so important for our guards to keep the ball in front of them so she doesn't have to help on drives.”
Blanton drilled another 3-pointer to make it a 10-point lead for Forrest and the Lady Rockets held the same margin at the half, 31-21.
The Lady Bobcats had no quit in them as they scratched and clawed their way back in the game, eventually slicing the Forrest lead to three points at 37-34 on a Jensen Harper trey with less than two minutes to play in the period.
“We knew that they have some girls that can score the ball and that it would be a battle all game, but that is what these girls are used to coming from the district we were in the last four years,” Jean said. “District games are always closer than others because of the importance of them for the tournament seeding.”
Curtis nailed her only 3-pointer of the game to give Forrest a six-point lead and then Harmon found Curtis on the run for a fast break bucket to end the third period with the Lady Rockets holding a 42-34 lead.
Forrest went back to Thrasher in the low post and she got the job done, nailing three free throws early in the fourth quarter before a Jaide Langley 3-pointer made it 47-34.
“We saw something that they were doing on defense were we could get Grace the ball on a guard,” Jean said. “So we ran it until they made an adjustment to stop it and when they did they left Jaide open for the three and she stepped up and knocked it down.”
Thrasher was fouled again and made one-of-two from the free throw line to open up a big lead for Forrest and force Giles County to come back again.
The Lady Bobcats managed to cut the Forrest lead to seven points before Curtis put them away, scoring six points down the stretch to secure the win for the Lady Rockets.
Forrest (10-5) played Nolensville (12-4) last night at Chapel Hill and host Lewisburg (12-3) on Tuesday in what should be a spirited district contest between the two intra-county rivals.
“We do have some big games coming up, but right now we are focused on Nolensville and we want to be 1-0 on that night,” Jean said. “I had to steal a quote from (Nick) Saban what he told his guys before the game Monday.”
“Errors and execution, we limit our errors not only turnovers, but defensively also and execute on offense and we will have a chance to win each game.”
Giles Co. 14 7 13 12-46
Forrest 16 15 11 15-57
Giles Co. (46): Jensen Harper 12, Hannah Hill 11, Alexis Rose 11, Tee Hollingsworth 5, Bianca Malone 5, Bri Brown 2
3-Point Goals (5): Rose 2, Harper 2, Hollingsworth
Free Throws (9-for-19): Rose 3-for-4, Malone 3-for-4, Harper 2-for-4, Hill 1-for-3, Hollingsworth 0-for-4
Forrest (57): Carissa Curtis 18, Grace Thrasher 15, Ally Blanton 13, Katey Harmon 5, Jaide Langley 4, Madison Curtis 2
3-Point Goals (6): Ally Blanton 3, Curtis, Langley, Harmon
Free Throws (11-for-14): Curtis 7-for-8, Thrasher 3-for-4, Langley 1-for-2, Harmon 0-for-2, Ally Blanton 0-for-2
Halftime Score: Forrest 31, Giles County 21