Forrest finishes strong

Friday, January 4, 2019
Jaide Langley squares up and knocks down the winning jumper against Cane Ridge on Saturday.
Tribune photos by Mike Inglsbee

Since taking over the head coaching position at Forrest, one thing Jeremy Jean has not been scared to do is put together a challenging schedule before the Lady Rockets get into district play.

2018-19 has been no exception as the Lady Rockets beat DII powerhouse Baylor by 11, recent 2A state champion Martin Luther King by 10 points, and lost a two-point contest to 3A Oakland, one of the largest high schools in Tennessee.

The Christmas break brought much of the same as Forrest traveled to Franklin High School for the Middle Tennessee Invitational Christmas Tournament, losing close contests against 3A Rossview (11-3) by 14 points and Beech (13-4) by 12 points, before a Saturday morning matchup against another 3A squad in Cane Ridge (2-10).

Forrest almost let a third straight game slip away as the Ravens took a 26-19 lead into the half, but after Cane Ridge took a 51-43 lead with 4:50 left in the game, Carissa Curtis scored five straight before Jaide Langley knocked down the game winning jumper with 10 seconds remaining in the contest.

“We didn’t play our best basketball today, but we fought hard and played scrappy,” Jean said. “We could’ve thrown the game away, but we kept battling.”

“I’m proud of our effort,” Jean continued. “We played good against both Rossview and Beech yesterday so I’m happy with our overall effort here. I’d rather come here and play three good teams then go somewhere and get three easy wins to look good.”

The Lady Rockets were led by Curtis’ 28 points on five triples with 13 coming in the fourth quarter.

Forrest guard Carissa Curtis knocks down one of her game-high game 28 points against Cane Ridge.

“The team really fought hard the whole time and I just really wanted that ballgame,” Curtis, who added five rebounds, said. “I’ve been in a slump with my shot, but I guess my confidence level was higher today.”

“I’m just glad I have a team that can back me up,” Curtis added. “There’s not one person on the team that I don’t trust with the ball in their hands and we can all score.”

Forrest also picked up 12 points from Langley and six points from Ally Blanton.

Cane Ridge was led by Geneva Vann with 24 points and Jada Anthony had 15.

The game started in the Ravens’ favor as Vann came out on fire with 13 first quarter points and Anthony chipping in with five as the Antioch squad held an 18-11 lead after one period.

The second quarter was sloppy with multiple turnovers by both squads, but Ally Blanton scored five of her six points in the period and Forrest pulled to within 26-19 at the intermission.

But the third quarter and for the most part, the entire second half belonged to the Lady Rockets.

“I think in the first half, I don’t want to say we were nervous, but I think we were a little antsy and in the second half we just really calmed down and played how we always play,” Langley said. “On the press, instead of waiting and throwing passes, we met the ball and we were looking up the floor to score.”

Langley knocked down one of her two triples in the game at the 3:05 mark in the third quarter and just over a minute later, Sydney Hill stole the ball and fed Anna Blanton for the score, before an Ally Blanton free throw gave the Lady Rockets their first lead since early in the game at 37-36.

Forrest headed to the final frame with the one-point lead.

And that final quarter belonged to Curtis.

The sharp-shooting guard started off the period with back-to-back 3-point buckets to expand the lead to 43-36, before the Ravens charged back into the game and pushed their lead to 51-43 on a Vann triple.

Once again, Curtis took control, knocking down another triple and scoring on a drive to the bucket before finally connecting on yet another trifecta to tie the game at 53-53 with 1:24 left in the contest.

The Lady Rockets took the lead when Langley came up with a steal before feeding Hill for a short jumper and the 55-53 lead.

The lead did not last long as Anthony knocked down two free throws to tie the game back up at 55.

With all eyes on Curtis, the Lady Rockets ran an inbounds play for Langley, who calmly sank the jumper from just inside the right 3-point line and Forrest left Franklin with a hard-fought 57-55 win.

The Lady Rockets play one last non-district game tonight at home versus Battle Ground Academy before starting up District 12-AA play Tuesday night at Giles County.

Forrest 11 8 18 20 57

Cane Ridge 18 8 10 19 55