Forrest’s season ends in heartbreaking fashion
Finality is never easy and it came crashing in Monday night for the Forrest Lady Rockets, who suffered a gut-wrenching 40-38 loss to host Nolensville in the Region 6-AA Tournament semifinal.
“I told them in the locker room, they don’t want to hear it right now, but they had a really good year from where we started to where we ended, so they should be proud of themselves,” Forrest coach Jeremy Jean said. “They fought all night.”
Forrest ended the season with a 19-10 record, claimed the District 12-AA regular season title, and clawed their way back in the postseason mix with a big road win Friday night before coming up just two points short of advancing to the region title game.
Jaide Langley had a huge game for the Lady Rockets, scoring a team-high 15 points as the only player in double figures in the scoring column for Forrest.
Langley picked the Lady Rockets up time after time Monday, beginning with a last second basket at the end of the first quarter to give Chapel Hill an 8-7 lead.
The lead seesawed back and forth in period number two with Nolensville holding a late 16-15 advantage before a Laura Mealer basket, followed by one Langley free throw gave the Lady Rockets an 18-16 halftime lead.
Forrest went cold from the field in the third period, but still managed to hold a 23-22 lead with one minute left in the stanza until a Grace Baird 3-pointer was followed by two Addie Keen free throws that gave the Lady Knights a 27-23 advantage, entering the final eight minutes of the season for one of the ball clubs.
Forrest started the fourth period with a 7-4 run to cut the Nolensville lead to a single digit at 31-30 before Parker Leftwich scored on a drive to the hoop to make it 33-30 and force a Chapel Hill timeout with 4:30 remaining in the contest.
Neither team scored for over a minute until Langley tied the game at 33 on a three-point play the old fashioned way with a tough drive to the dish.
Moments later, Zoe Pillar scored in the low post for Nolensville and was fouled.
Pillar stepped to the line and missed, only to get the rebound and deposit the ball back in the hoop to put the Lady Knights up 37-33.
Mealer scored to make it a two-point game and Forrest called timeout with 1:52 remaining in the contest.
Leftwich hit one of two from the free throw line after the stoppage before Forrest freshman Carissa Curtis drained a 3-pointer to tie the contest at 38 with 59.7 seconds left in the game.
After a Forrest timeout, Leftwich turned the ball back to Chapel Hill on a travel call and Nolensville called timeout with 35.4 ticks left.
In what has been a usual sight most of the season for Nolensville, Leftwich came up with a huge steal and the Lady Knights called timeout with 8.1 seconds remaining.
“We talked about that the last couple days (Leftwich stealing the ball) and I told them let her run over you and maybe they will call a foul, but she came up with a big steal,” Jean said.
On the ensuing inbounds play, the Lady Knights got the ball in the hands of Baird and the regular season District 12-AA MVP earned the honor when she threw up a left-handed prayer that went through the hoop for the game winner, ending Chapel Hill’s season and sending the host Lady Knights to the title game tonight at 7 p.m. versus Marshall County.
“If you would have asked me before the year started, losing the two we lost, having everybody injured, surgeries, sicknesses this year and we would be 19-9 before tonight I would not have laughed at you, but it would have been hard to believe, especially jumping to double ‘A’,” Jean said. “These kids played hard, played together and these four seniors (Grace Thrasher, Katey Harmon, Madison Curtis, and Emma Stacey) taught the rest of them what it means to be a team and I hope it trickles down to the rest of them for years to come.”
Forrest 7 11 5 15-38
Nolensville 8 8 7 17-40
Forrest (38): Jaide Langley 15, Ally Blanton 6, Laura Mealer 6, Carissa Curtis 5, Katey Harmon 3, Grace Thrasher 2, Madison Curtis 1.
Free Throws (6-for-10): Langley 3-for-3, Blanton 1-for-2, Madison Curtis 1-for-2, Harmon 1-for-1, Mealer 0-for-2.
3-Point Goals (2): Carissa Curtis, Blanton.
Nolensville (40): Grace Baird 15, Zoe Pillar 14, Addie Keen 4, Parker Leftwich 3, Caymin Ladd 2, Sydney Mickulin 2.
Free Throws (7-for-10): Mickulin 2-for-3, Keen 2-for-2, Pillar 2-for-2, Leftwich 1-for-2, Baird 0-for-1.
3-Point goals (1): Baird.
Halftime Score: Forrest 18, Nolensville 16.