Lady Rockets throw away win at Nolensville

Friday, February 2, 2018
Ally Blanton makes a pass to the low post for an assist.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Lady Rockets’ only two District 12-AA losses this season have come at the hands of Nolensville with the first defeat by 15 points at Chapel Hill.

In the second meeting on Tuesday night in Williamson County, Forest had a great chance to even the regular season series, but let it slip away in a gut wrenching 45-43 setback.

The difference in the game was about four bad passes by the Lady Rockets that cost them dearly.

“The loss stings a little because we gave ourselves every chance to win the game and just didn't get it done,” Forrest coach Jeremy Jean said. “We made some passes that weren't as crisp as they had to be, but we didn't meet the pass either.”

“If we meet it, 12 runs over us and we might have gotten a foul called, which would have kept her from scoring three fast break layups.”

Number 12 is Nolensville’s Parker Leftwich, who led all scorers in the game with 18 points and came up with a pair of backbreaking steals on back-to-back possessions to begin the fourth quarter after Forrest had fought their way back via a solid third quarter.

The game started with Grace Thrasher burying a 3-pointer for Forrest and after the long bomb, the first quarter was played about even by both ball clubs until the Lady Knights made a mistake.

With Forrest in the lead 7-6, Lady Rocket freshman Carissa Curtis scored and was subsequently awarded two free throws when Nolensville’s Holli Finnell was whistled for a technical foul for taunting Curtis.

Carissa Curtis scored a team-high 17 points for Forrest, who lost 45-43 at Nolensville Tuesday night.

Curtis buried both charity shots as the Lady Rockets took an 11-6 lead to quarter number two.

Three minutes into the second period, a Jaide Langley 3-pointer gave Forrest its biggest lead of the game at 19-10 before Nolensville surged back with a 12-1 run the rest of the stanza to take a 22-20 lead to the locker room.

Langley buried her second 3-pointer in the game to kick off the third quarter and a 7-0 run for the Lady Rockets that was capped off by a Thrasher basket in the low post.

Grace Thrasher throws down a first half 3-pointer for the Lady Rockets.

Nolensville came back again and the game was tied at 29 on a Leftwich drive to the hoop late, but Curtis ended the period with a gliding layup to give Forrest a two-point advantage, entering the final eight minutes.

A good sight to see happened at the 2:40 mark of the third quarter when Forrest freshman Laura Mealer entered the game for the first time season after being out the entire year due to shoulder surgery.

“It is a good lift and it gives us another athlete that can defend and rebound,” Jean said. “She was rusty, but that is to be expected with her only games since last season being seven games this summer.”

Mealer played about three minutes and then went to the bench for the rest of the contest.

“We do want to get her some more minutes to shake the rust off before tournament time,” Jean added. “She just has to go in and grab boards and play great defense.”

Leftwitch’s two steals to kick off the fourth quarter put the Lady Rockets in a 35-31 hole and gave Nolensville the momentum as they held the lead until the 1:41 mark of period when Curtis stole the ball and scored coming out of a Lady Knight’s timeout, tying the game at 41.

The two teams traded turnovers before Leftwich nailed both ends of a one-and-one opportunity from the free throw line with 42.5 seconds remaining in the game.

After a Forrest timeout, Katey Harmon scored off of a set play for the Lady Rockets with 27 seconds left and another timeout was called by Chapel Hill.

Grace Baird was fouled with 10 seconds left and drained both free throws to make it 45-43.

As time was about to run out, Curtis glided in for an attempted layup and it looked like she was fouled, but no whistle blew and the game ended.

“Late in the game, we would execute to perfection one play and then on the other end we would have a lapse and it would cost us,” Jean said. “I just saw a quote this morning, don't know who said it, but it fits for us perfectly right now. ‘”Don't let a win go to your head and don't let a loss go to your heart."’

Forrest (14-7, 5-2) travels to Lewisburg tonight to take on the Marshall County Tigerettes (16-4, 4-2) for an important district re-match game.

“I think that the girls will be fine,” Jean stated. “We have to learn from our mistakes and move on to the next one, which is a big game with Marshall County.”

“I am sure that coach (David) Steely will have them well-prepared and ready to play. But we will be to. I think coming off of a loss like that will be a little extra motivation for us.”

Forrest prevailed 42-26 in the first meeting on January 22 at Chapel Hill.

Forrest 11 9 11 12-43

Nolensville 6 16 7 16-45

Forrest (43): Carissa Curtis 17, Katey Harmon 7, Grace Thrasher 7, Jaide Langley 6, Ally Blanton 5, Anna Blanton 1.

Free Throws (9-for-11): Curtis 5-for-5, Ally Blanton 3-for-4, Anna Blanton 1-for-2.

3-Point Goals (4): Langley 2, Thrasher, Harmon.

Nolensville (45): Parker Leftwich 18, Zoe Pillar 12, Grace Baird 8, Caymin Ladd 5, Sydney Mickulin 2.

Free Throws (9-for-11): Baird 4-for-4, Leftwich 3-for-5, Mickulin 2-for-2.

3-Point Goals (2): Ladd, Leftwich.

Halftime Score: Nolensville 22, Forrest 20.