Rockets upset Summertown in gritty effort
After a tumultuous 1-7 start to the season and coming off disappointing back-to-back one-point losses, the Forrest Rockets circled the wagons and came away with a stunning 61-55 upset over a stout Summertown team that rolled into Chapel Hill Friday night with a 6-1 record.
“That was a real nice win,” Forrest coach Randy Toombs said. “Anytime you can beat Summertown period, it’s a good win, they are a good, hard playing basketball team.”
The Eagles had won 10 out of the last 12 games versus Forrest and four straight with a combined 24.5 point winning margin, including an 80-54 triumph over the Rockets on November 23.
The Rockets played one of their most solid games in a while, holding the Eagles under 60 points for only the second time this season.
“You can’t let them run up and down the floor,” Toombs said. “If they get in a tempo they can eat you alive, so we tried our best to slow them down and we did it.”
Forrest nailed seven 3-pointers in the contest and went a solid 9-for-15 from the free throw line, including a 6-for-11 effort in the crucial fourth quarter.
Cameron Curtis had a game-high 21 points and four 3-pointers to lead a balanced scoring attack for Forrest.
Sam Ford had 19 points with 10 coming in the final period push, while Ty Hengesbach tallied 14, Andrew Timmons had five, and Spencer McCown netted a deuce.
Curtis drilled a 3-pointer to start the game and Ford hit a bomb moments later to make it 6-1 and send a message to the Eagles that is was not pushover night.
It was neck and neck the entire the first quarter as Curtis drained two more treys to score 11 out of the 14 points for Forrest in the period, who trailed 18-14 after the first eight minutes.
A 3-pointer by freshman Andrew Timmons kicked off the second quarter and Spencer McCown followed with a steal and score to give the Rockets a 19-18 lead.
Forrest held firm, leading 26-25 on a Ford basket near the end of the period, but Summertown’s Austin Mattox scored the final four points before the half and the Eagles took a 29-26 lead to the intermission.
Mattox also opened up the scoring in the second half for the Eagles as they went on to build an eight-point lead at 43-35 late in the third period before back-to-back 3-pointers by Curtis and Hengesbach closed out the third quarter with the Rockets down by two points at 43-41.
Trotter and Ford exchanged four points apiece to open the fourth quarter before Mattox made it a 49-45 contest with a drive to the hoop.
Ford came back with a drive to the rack and at the other end, the Eagles were whistled for a three-second lane violation.
The Rockets turned the ball over, but got it back and Ford drove to the basket and tied the game at 49 with 3:47 remaining in the contest.
A missed shot by Summertown gave the Rockets a chance to take the lead and they did as Ford drove down the lane again, converting a three-point play the old-fashioned to put the Rockets in front 52-49.
“Sam has got the ability to drive now and when he does it, it’s nice when he is able to finish at the rim,” Toombs said. “He has struggled lately with it, he gets to the rim, he has just struggled knocking it down, but tonight he knocked them down.”
The Eagles were shaken as they turned the ball over and Hengesbach scored on a driving layup to give Forrest a five point lead with just under three minutes to go in the game.
John Long hit two free throws for Summertown to make it 54-51 before both teams missed scoring opportunities.
The turning point of the game took place when Curtis drove to the basket off of a Summertown turnover and the Eagles were whistled for an intentional foul on the play.
Curtis nailed both free throws to make it 55-51 and then Toombs called timeout to set up a play with the Rockets holding possession with 1:50 remaining in the game due to the intentional foul.
Hengesbach got fouled out of the stoppage and went to the free throw for the crucial one-and-one opportunity and the senior cashed in, draining both charity shots to make it 58-51 contest.
After a Summertown brick, the Rockets garnered possession on a tie-up on the floor with 1:09 left in the game and Ford put the icing on the cake when he nailed two more free throws to make it a 59-51 contest.
The win was a huge confidence builder for the Rockets (2-7), who hope to build on the triumph on Friday when they host the Houston County Fighting Irish (0-7).
“We needed to get one or two before Christmas hit, because we are fixing to have a pretty rough time at the Christmas tournaments,” Toombs said. “So yeah, we needed that one.”
Summertown 18 11 14 12-55
Forrest 14 12 15 20-61
Summertown (55): Trey Trotter 12, John Long 12, Austin Mattox 11, Brady Brown 8, Austin Morrow 4, Jase Ambrose 3, Eric Higdon 3, Jeremiah Cottrell 2.
Three-point goals (2): Long 2.
Free Throws (16-for-21): Mattox 4-for-6, Long 4-for-4, Trotter 2-for-5, Cottrell 2-for-2, Brown 2-for-2, Ambrose 1-for-1, Higdon 1-for-1.
Forrest (61): Cameron Curtis 21, Sam Ford 19, Ty Hengesbach 14, Andrew Timmons 5, Spencer McCown 2.
Three-point goals (7): Curtis 4, Hengesbach 2, Ford 1, Timmons1.
Free Throws (9-for-14): Ford 4-for-7, Curtis 3-for-3, Hengesbach 2-for-4.
Next Game: Thursday, December 13 vs. Houston County, 6 p.m.