Forrest beats MCHS in monumental match-up

Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Freshman Carissa Curtis nails a first half 3-pointer for the Lady Rockets, who beat MCHS 42-26 at Chapel Hill Monday night.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

Unlike the boys, the Forrest Lady Rockets and Marshall County Tigerettes have played sporadically since the Zero classification era of the early 70’s, but on Tuesday night at Chapel Hill it was different, much different as both squads were fighting for the top spot in the newly formed District 12-AA standings.

Forrest prevailed 42-26 thanks to a big 17-4 fourth quarter that boosted Chapel Hill to the win.

“I am extremely proud of them for last night’s game,” Forrest coach Jeremy Jean said. “They came out and got after it from the tip and never let down. Marshall is a good team, but a great defensive team. It took us a little bit to figure out ways to score, but during that time the girls played a great defensive game.”

The huge crowd witnessed a close to the vest affair as the teams combined for 26 first half points with Forrest holding a slight edge at 15-11.

“I did expect it to be in the 40’s,” Jean said. “Again, Marshall is a great defensive team, and they rebound the ball really well, which would limit the number of possessions that we get.”

“We limited our turnovers and we did a really good job of limiting their second chance points.”

Freshman Carissa Curtis’ 3-pointer late in the first period spurred the hometown girls to a 7-4 first quarter lead before Demariae Ingram scored on the first possession of the second quarter for the Tigerettes.

Hannah Davis scores two points in the low post.

Hannah Davis gave MCHS the lead with a bucket in the low post and the teams traded baskets.

One free throw by Lewisburg freshman Claire Woods gave the Tigerettes an 11-9 lead before the Lady Rockets scored six straight points to end the first half, including a long 3-pointer by Jaide Langley at the buzzer.

The Tigerettes coughed it on their first possession of the second half and Forrest made them pay for the error via a 6-0 run that was started on a Grace Thrasher bucket in the low post followed by back-to-back Curtis baskets to give the Lady Rockets a 21-11 lead.

Claire Woods knocks down a runner in the lane in the first half for the Tigerettes.

Davis and Thrasher traded buckets in the blocks before the Tigerettes came back with a vengeance on three consecutive three-points plays with one in the low post by Kelsey Keiler and a long bomb each from Woods and Leah Hollingsworth to make it one-point contest at 23-22.

Thrasher scored again with a few seconds remaining in the third quarter to make it 25-22, entering the final eight minutes.

Curtis added two more points at the outset of the fourth quarter and after a MCHS missed shot, Katey Harmon muscled in a basket in the blocks to put FHS up by seven points.

“She (Harmon) was big all night,” Jean said. “It was the first time in her career were she didn't have a foul in a game and that kept her on the floor.”

“Katey does the dirty work for us every game and those things usually go unnoticed. It was nice for her to have a big quarter to help put the game away.”

Keiler and Harmon traded baskets before a Tigerette turnover led to two Harmon free throws.

Marshall County went cold from the field as Langley heated up on a jumper in the lane and huge 3-pointer in front of the Forrest bench to extend the lead to 38-24.

“Jaide is finally getting back to up to speed,” Jean said. “When she gets her feet set she is a deadly shooter. We are getting close to everyone being healthy.”

Forrest scored four more points and Marshall County did not score again until their final touch of the game on a Kiara Esparza basket.

“I think we were able to get into their legs a little bit, which let us go on a big run in the fourth,” Jean said. “We got some easy transition buckets and got the game going our speed.”

Curtis led all scorers in the game with 11 points and Harmon and Langley added 10 points apiece.

“This feels good and I’m glad I have a good team to back me up,” Curtis said. “Coach always tells us to execute and we did that tonight and I think this going to be a really good district season.”

“We just have to stay together, stay strong as a team, keep our confidence up, keep going and we will be good to go.”

Curtis leads the Lady Rockets in scoring, averaging 13.1 points per game, while also leading Forrest in assists (49) and free throws made (55).

Marshall County did not have any player score in double figures as Keiler scored 7, Woods 6, Davis 4, and Hollingsworth 3, while Esparza, Alli Hobbs, and Ingram all tallied two markers apiece.

Ally Blanton steals the ball and heads up court for the Lady Rockets.

“It was a tournament type atmosphere,” Jean said. Being able to get the ‘W’ was huge for a couple reasons. One, it keeps from having to have help to get the one seed and two, playing the way we did may bring the crowd back the next home game.”

Forrest (12-6, 3-1) sits tied atop the District 12-AA standings with Nolensville (13-5, 2-1), while the Tigerettes (13-4, 1-2) have some work to do to catch up.

“We just have to keep plugging away each play, each game,” Jean said.

The next two weeks will tell the tale as both ball clubs embark on long district contest road trips.

Marshall County 4 7 11 4-26

Forrest 7 8 10 17-42

Marshall County (26): Kelsey Keiler 7, Claire Woods 6, Hannah Davis 4, Leah Hollingsworth 3, Kiara Esparza 2, Alli Hobbs 2, Demariae Ingram 2.

Free Throws (4-for-7): Hobbs 2-for-2, Woods 1-for-2, Davis 0-for-2, Keiler 1-for-1.

3-point Goals (2): Hollingsworth, Woods.

Forrest (42): Carissa Curtis 11, Katey Harmon 10, Jaide Langley 10, Grace Thrasher 6, Anna Blanton 3, Shea Lewis 2.

Free Throws (5-for-11): Harmon 4-for-4, Anna Blanton 1-for-2, Ally Blanton 0-for-2, Thrasher 0-for-3.

3-Point Goals (3): Langley 2, Curtis

Halftime Score: Forrest 15, Marshall County 11.