Lady Rockets step on gas to defeat Viqueens

Friday, February 9, 2018
Katey Harmon (14) buries a first half 3-pointer for the Lady Rockets, who beat Community 60-47 Tuesday night at Chapel Hill.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

It wasn’t easy, but what is when it means a lot.

The Forrest Lady Rockets clinched a berth in Monday night’s Region 6-AA Tournament at Giles County with a hard fought 60-47 win over Community Tuesday night at Chapel Hill.

“We came out knowing if we won we would be one or two and they knew if they won they would go from fourth to second, so there was a lot on the line,” Forrest coach Jeremy said. “Our defense kept us in the game tonight until our shots starting to fall.”

Forrest (17-7, 7-2) and Nolensville (18-6, 7-2) are tied for first place in the district standings and the Lady Knights hold the tiebreaker with their two wins over the Lady Rockets.

The top two teams in the district gain an automatic entry into the region tournament and the only way Forrest can move up to the number one seed is a Viqueens (14-11, 5-4) win over Nolensville in tonight’s regular season finale in Unionville and a victory by the Lady Rockets over Murfreesboro Central Magnet (3-19, 0-9) at Chapel Hill.

“We have to get that win because number one, you don’t want to go into the tournament with a loss,” Jean said. “We want to come out and play from the opening tip to the whistle at the end.”

“It’s senior night, so we want the seniors to play well, but we just have to keep getting better and I think tonight we got better offensively from the game before, so Friday night we have to put together a whole game so we can go into the tournament feeling good about themselves.”

Ally Blanton (20) had a huge game for Forrest, leading the Lady Rockets in scoring with 22 points.

Ally Blanton broke out in the pivotal contest, scoring a game-high 22 points for Forrest with four 3-pointers and a 2-for-2 effort from the free throw line.

“Ally shot the ball well tonight,” Jean said. “She has a nice shot and shoots after practice and it’s paying off.”

“If she keeps doing that they will have to focus on her and leave somebody else open.”

Former Forrest player and current Community coach Corey Bishop came back home trying to get his Viqueens into the top two and the squad turned in an inspired effort.

The game started with an A.K. Lemmons basket for Community and was followed by 11 straight Forrest points, including 3-pointers by Blanton and Katey Harmon.

After a Community timeout with 4:47 left in the period, the Viqueens surged back with an 8-0 run to make it an 11-10 contest with all the points scored in the low post.

A Carissa Curtis 3-pointer halted the Community run and just as the game had started, the first quarter ended on a Lemmons bucket for the Viqueens.

Forrest put up a 5-2 mini-run to begin the second period that was capped off by two Laura Mealer free throws before the Viqueens made the move for the lead, ripping off nine consecutive points and Unionville held a 23-19 advantage with just under three minutes to play in the first half.

The Viqueens held on for a 27-24 lead at the intermission.

Carissa Curtis (11) rains home a 3-pointer in Forrest’s win over the Viqueens.

Forrest wrestled back the lead with a 6-1 run to begin the second half, capped off by a Carissa Curtis 3-pointer and the Lady Rockets led 35-32 a short time later when they made the game changing move.

Curtis made it 37-32 with a basket and after a Viqueens’ missed shot, Blanton scored for a seven-point Forrest lead before Curtis struck again, swiping the ball and scoring to give the Lady Rockets a comfortable 41-32 lead, entering the fourth period.

A Mealer steal led to two Curtis free throws to kick off the final eight minutes to make it an 11-point ballgame, but Community had another run in them as they cut the deficit to seven points before Blanton put them away, drilling a 3-pointer to regain a double digit lead at 46-36.

Laura Mealer (23) gets hacked on her way to the basket.

From there, Forrest outscored the Viqueens 14-11 the rest of the way to win the game and secure a spot in the region tournament.

“It’s flown by and this group has been fun to coach because they don’t care who gets the credit, they really don’t,” Jean said. “They don’t care who scores, they don’t care who does anything, they play for each other, and that’s why they have won 17 ballgames.”

Community 12 15 5 15 — 47

Forrest 14 10 17 19 — 60

Community (47): A. K. Lemmons 19, Kailyn Farrell 4, Kizzey Lane, Logan Brothers, Jaley Vincent, Gracie Simmons 16, Haley Reed 8, Jesa Moore.

Free Throws (13-for-17): Simmons 6-for-9, Lemmons 5-for-6, Farrell 2-for-2.

Forrest (60): Ally Blanton 22, Carissa Curtis 17, Jaide Langley 7, Katey Harmon 5, Grace Thrasher 4, Laura Mealer 3, Emma Stacey 2, Madison Curtis, Shea Lewis, Anna Blanton.

Free Throws (17-for-21): Mealer 4-for-8, Langley 5-for-5, Carissa Curtis 4-for-4, Stacey 2-for-2, Ally Blanton 2-for-2.

3-Point goals: Community (2): Reed 2; Forrest (6): Ally Blanton 4, Curtis, Harmon.

Halftime score: Community 27, Forrest 24.