Tigerettes take down Forrest in tournament consolation game
Most District 12-AA fans expected to see a Marshall County (19-7) and Forrest (18-9) matchup in the tournament title game, but after a Community upset over the Lady Rockets and second-year school Nolensville knocked off the Tigerettes, the two intra-county schools found themselves in a battle to stay out of the region four-seed and away from number-one Creek Wood (26-4).
And as expected, the fight for third place was a close contest throughout, but the Tigerettes outscored Forrest 14-4 in the decisive third quarter and Marshall County left Pulaski with a 51-43 win over a Lady Rocket team that had beaten them twice during the regular season.
"We couldn't stop the dribble," Forrest coach Jeremy Jean offered. "Number 13 (Claire Woods) and number 21 (Kelsey Keiler) are really good players, but they went by us too easily in the second half and got layups. Number 24 (Hannah Davis) ended up with a huge game and they just got too many offensive rebounds and just dishes off drives killed us."
"We've got to guard the middle better or we will be done Friday night (in the region opener)."
Forrest accomplished its game plan of holding explosive scorer Leah Hollingsworth to just seven points and limited Keiler to just three points, but Davis stepped up with 16 points and 12 rebounds and Woods came off the bench to add 10 points, all in the second half.
"We definitely have had long, hard practices and we've really focused on film, watching them over and over, making sure that we did everything correctly out there tonight," Davis said. "We were really more prepared against them this time. I was really focused this time and I really wanted to beat them badly so I gave everything I had out there tonight. I was really physical tonight, more than I had been the past three games."
Demarie Ingram added eight points and four assists.
"We definitely could have rebounded better and we just didn't take good shots," Forrest senior Madison Curtis said. "We tried to rush too many shots and we have to be smarter about that Friday night if we want to keep our season alive."
The Lady Rockets, who entered the tournament as the number one seed before losing both tournament games, were led by Jaide Langley with 13 points, Carissa Curtis chipped in 12 points, and Ally Blanton added eight.
Marshall County jumped out to a 7-2 lead after an Alli Hobbs steal and coast-to-coast layup, but Langley drained her only three of the game on the next possession to bring the score back to 7-5.
Davis answered with a turnaround jumper and the Tigerettes went into the second quarter with a 9-7 advantage.
An Ally Blanton steal with 2:22 left in the first half finally brought Forrest even with the Tigerettes and after employing a suffocating full court press that produced four straight Rocket steals, Forrest went into halftime seemingly with the momentum and a 20-18 lead.
"Well, we did adjust a little bit (at halftime) to handling their run and jump press," MCHS coach David Steely said. "One of our biggest adjustments was getting our point guard back in the game and that was a big difference for us."
The halftime adjustments worked as Davis added six points and Woods dropped in four and the Tigerettes held Forrest to just four third quarter points to take a 32-24 lead into the final quarter.
A Woods runner and a Davis turnaround jumper pushed the Tigerette lead to 37-24 with 6:23 remaining in the game, but the Lady Rockets refused to die.
Langley completed a three-point play and Madison Curtis drilled a 3-pointer to trim the lead to 37-30 just 29 seconds later and after two Grace Thrasher free throws, the once 13-point Marshall County lead was cut to four at 41-37 with 1:51 remaining, but that was as close as the Lady Rockets would get.
The Tigerettes sealed the deal at the free throw line and took their first win this season over Forrest.
Marshall County travels to Stewart County (23-5) this Friday, while the Lady Rockets travel to Charlotte to take on Creek Wood.
"We can beat anybody but we've got to play team defense," Jean said. "Jaide and Madison tonight, those two guarded Hollingsworth to just seven points. But we need everyone to play like that.”
“We've got to defend better and take care of the ball because they're gonna trap and press and run crazy stuff, but we've got kids who can handle the ball. So if we do our job and just execute and play hard, we'll have a chance."
Marshall County 9 9 14 19-51
Forrest 7 13 4 19-43
Marshall County (51): Hannah Davis 16, Claire Woods 10, Demarie Ingram 8, Leah Hollingsworth 7, Karlye Wiser 5, Kelsey Keiler 3, Alli Hobbs 2.
3-Point goals (2): Hollingsworth, Wiser.
Forrest (43): Jaide Langley 13, Carissa Curtis 12, Ally Blanton 8, Katey Harmon 3, Madison Curtis 3, Laura Mealer 2, Grace Thrasher 2.
3-Point goals (3): M. Curtis, A. Blanton, Langley.
Halftime Score: Forrest 20, Marshall County 18.