Lady Rockets take wire to wire win over Cascade
The Forrest Lady Rockets are off to a flying start to begin the season with six wins and just one loss with the latest victory coming against longtime rival Cascade, who came into Tuesday night’s game at Chapel Hill unbeaten.
After a 65-47 wire-to-wire win by Forrest, the girls from Wartrace left with the same 6-1 record.
“We did a good job, they (Cascade) were undefeated, they are a lot better than they have been the last couple of years, he (Rece Chumley) has done a good job with them,” Forrest coach Jeremy Jean said. “I’m very pleased the way we played, especially with some of the distractions we have had the past couple of days.”
“We came together and played well, just like all year, we played team ball and made the extra pass.”
A stifling defensive effort from the opening tip was the recipe for success as the Lady Rockets employed the press that turned into 10 first quarter turnovers by the Lady Champions.
Four of those turnovers were two steals by Sydney Hill and one each by Laura Mealer and Carissa Curtis that produced four Forrest layups and eight points.
“We are going to try to make the game a little faster and make them play at our pace,” Jean said. “We gave up some early, but we made up what we lost, so we will keep up the pressure as long as we can.”
The game was close at 8-4 when a Jaide Langley rebound and put-back sparked an 8-0 Chapel Hill run that was capped off by a Mealer drive to the dish with one minute remaining in the first period.
A Cascade bucket by Haleigh Crouch broke the streak, but consecutive baskets by Langley and Anna Blanton at the end of the stanza made it a 20-6 contest.
The Lady Champs fought back as they went on a 10-2 burst to begin the second period, eventually cutting the Forrest lead to 22-16 on a Crouch steal and dish to Bailey Ledbetter midway through the first half.
Forrest buckled down again on defense and regained a 29-20 lead on a Langley three-point play the old-fashioned way before one Eli Chumbley free throw made it a 29-21 contest at the intermission.
Forrest took control of the game for good as a Curtis 3-pointer to start the second half sparked a backbreaking 12-0 run that also included back-to-back treys by Langley and Mealer to balloon the Lady Rockets’ lead to 20 points.
“The type of team we have this year, they want that killer instinct and they got it, we had a chance to put them away late, and we did,” Jean said. “It would have been better if we did it the first time, but better late than never.”
The Lady Champs did manage to slice the Forrest lead to a dozen points at 47-35 before Curtis ended the third period with a driving layup to put the Lady Rockets up 49-35, entering the fourth quarter.
Curtis scored again at the outset of the final eight minutes and after back-to-back Cascade missed shots led to one made free throw by Ally Blanton and a rebound and put-back by Shea Lewis that put the game on ice as the Lady Rockets cruised to the 18-point win.
Forrest had three players in double figures with Curtis scoring a game-high 17 points, while Langley netted 16, and Mealer ended up with 13 points.
Ally Blanton had eight, Anna Blanton scored five, Lewis tallied four, and Hill finished with a deuce.
The Lady Rockets have another tough game at home on Friday versus the one-loss, defending Class A state runner-up Summertown Lady Eagles (7-1) and Jean talked about the importance of playing tough games before the start of the district season on Tuesday, January 2019 at Giles County.
“They (Cascade) were undefeated and they’re good, we have a tough week this week,” Jean said. “Summertown is a one-loss team and they are playing well, so this is a good week for us to see what we are made of.”
Cascade 6 15 14 12-47
Forrest 20 9 20 16-65
Cascade (49): Eli Chumbley 14, Haleigh Crouch 11, Maddie Crosslin 8, Bailey Ledbetter 8, Keeley Sutton 4, Caroline Store 2.
Three-point goals (4): Ledbetter 2, Sutton 1, Crosslin 1.
Free Throws (5-for-9): Chumbley 2-for-3, Sutton 1-for-2, Crosslin 1-for-2, Crouch 1-for-2.
Forrest (65): Carissa Curtis 17, Jaide Langley 16, Laura Mealer 13, Ally Blanton 8, Anna Blanton 5, Shea Lewis 4, Sydney Hill 2.
3-point goals (4): Anna Blanton 1, Curtis 1, Langley 1, Mealer 1.
Free Throws (5-for-8): Ally Blanton 2-for-4, Hill 2-for-2, Langley 1-for-1, Curtis 0-for-1.
Halftime Score: Forrest 29, Cascade 21.
Next Game: Friday vs. Summertown, 6 p.m.