Injuries mounting for struggling Lady Rockets

Tuesday, January 22, 2019
The 2018-2019 Forrest Basketball Homecoming Court from left are, Bryce Allen, Hannah Villazon, Eli Bates, Macy Brown, Austin Connell, Kara Rakotz, Jeffrey Gross (King), Kennedy Gillespie (Queen), Gauge Anderson, Sierrah Riley, Ally Blanton, Jared Jent, Jes Murray, and John Randall Dippold.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

In what was once a promising season for the Lady Rockets, things have gone downhill in a hurry as the injury bug is decimating the Chapel Hill roster.

With Sydney Hill still hobbling from an ankle injury and now Laura Mealer dealing with shoulder damage, Forrest is limited in their approach and it showed in a 39-32 Homecoming loss to Community Friday night at Chapel Hill.

“There is never a good time for injuries, but ours have happened at a bad time,” Forrest coach Jeremy Jean said. “Getting our post injured right before the district season and one week into the season put us behind the eight-ball. Having to figure things out with very little time to figure it out.”

The good thing is Forrest is in the midst of a five-game district home stand and the District 12-AA Tournament is at Chapel Hill this year.

“We are in a hole now, but we can dig our way out,” Jean said. “We just have to get better every day and start playing our best ball in about a month.”

The Lady Rockets (12-8, 1-3) can make some headway this week as they hosted Murfreesboro Central Magnet last night and entertain Giles County Friday night.

Forrest also has a non-district game at BGA Saturday night.

“We have to string together some wins this week, we are playing two teams that we have already beaten plus Magnet for the first time,” Jean said. “We just have to worry about ourselves and play ball.”

Ally Blanton runs out to meet an injured Laura Mealer as the Forrest cheerleaders do their thing before the Lady Rockets took on Community in Friday night’s Homecoming game at Chapel Hill.

Friday night’s game started with a three-second call in the paint on Forrest before Anna Katherine Lemmons scored in the low post for Community.

Lemmons had her way for most of the night, leading all scorers in the game with 24 points and her paint mate Gracie Simmons was also in double figures with 11 points.

Forrest was held scoreless until the 4:25 mark of the period when Carissa Curtis scored on an inbound pass as the Lady Rockets trailed by just three points at 5-2 due some superlative defense.

Simmons scored her first basket of the night, but Shea Lewis matched the low post bucket before Lemmons converted down low once again.

Jaide Langley made one of two from the free throw to end the first quarter with Forrest trailing 9-5.

The Community duo split eight points evenly in the second quarter, but the Viqueens held Forrest to a pair of Curtis baskets and led 17-9 at the intermission.

Things looked really bleak as the Viqueens led 22-9 in the third quarter before the Lady Rockets dug in and made a comeback.

Carissa Curtis comes up with a steal and races in for a layup versus the Viqueens.

Curtis drilled a 3-pointer to kick off the spurt at the 5:36 mark of the stanza and after a Community miscue, Langley scored on a fall away jumper in the lane.

On offensive foul on the Viqueens led to two made free throws by Ally Blanton and Forrest got the ball back again and Curtis made it a 22-18 contest on a breakaway bucket.

Lemmons scored in the paint to stave off the home team, but a 6-2 run to end the third quarter put Forrest in position for the comeback win, entering the fourth quarter behind by two points at 26-24.

The action was furious as the fourth quarter began with both teams taking some tough shots and the Lady Rockets finally got even at the 4:36 mark of the period when Langley hit the front end of a one-and-one bonus try at the free throw line, tying the game at 30.

“We started turning Community's turnovers into points in the third quarter and we were able to turn the game into a full-court game,” Jean said. “Once we got some easy shots to fall, it snowballed into a good scoring quarter for us, but unfortunately that snowball rolls both ways. It got harder for us to get those shots to fall in the fourth quarter.”

Forrest turned the ball over on their next two possessions and Community took advantage to lead by five points with 1:48 remaining in the game.

From there, Community went 4-for-6 from the free throw line, while the Lady Rockets went 2-for-6 from the charity stripe in the seven-point loss.

“We just couldn't get over the hump, “Jean said. “ I am afraid that the hard Christmas schedule has had the reverse effect that I wanted. I wanted us to play some really good teams, which we did and played well for the most part.”

“I was hoping that would give us some confidence coming into the second half of the season. Instead, I think it has shot down our confidence. We have to find a way to get that back soon.”

Curtis had 14 points to lead FHS in the scoring column, while Langley had nine points, Ally Blanton six, Lewis two, and Hill had one marker.

“We have to get back to playing our style on the offensive end,” Jean stated. “We haven't been in attack mode the last few games.”

“We aren't catching looking to score and we aren't moving the ball fast enough, but all these things are fixable and we will get them fixed.”

Community (39): Anna Katherine Lemmons 23, Gracie Simmons 11, Brianna Beech 2, Logan Brothers 2, Jesa Moore 1.

3-Point Goals (0).

Free Throws (11-for-21): Lemmons 7-for-9, Simmons 1-for-6, Brothers 2-for-4, Jesa Moore 1-for-2.

Forrest (32): Carissa Curtis 14, Jaide Langley 9, Ally Blanton 6, Shea Lewis 2, Sydney Hill 1.

3-Point Goals (2): Curtis, Blanton.

Free Throws (8-for-15): Langley 3-for-6, Blanton 3-for-4, Curtis 1-for-3, Hill 1-for-2.

Halftime Score: Community 17, Forrest 9.