Rockets’ season ends with first round tournament loss

Friday, February 15, 2019
Senior Ty Hengesbach runs out as a Rocket for the last time Tuesday night at Murfreesboro Central Magnet School.
Tribune photos by Anthony S. Puca

The Forrest Rockets lost 14 out of their last 15 games and 10 in a row to end the season, including a tough 56-48 defeat at Murfreesboro Central Magnet School (MCM) Tuesday night in a first-round District 12-AA Tournament satellite game.

“They fought hard, we did everything that we could possibly do,” Forrest coach Randy Toombs said. “We still made some of the little mistakes we have been making and good teams will take advantage of that.”

“He’s (MCM coach Douglas Worsley) got a good basketball team, they are well-coached, but we played hard.”

It was the fourth meeting between the two schools this season and each time the Rockets have edged into the margin of defeat and it looked like they would finally get over the hump on Tuesday as they came out inspired.

Chapel Hill took an early 7-0 lead as Cameron Curtis nailed a field goal to open the game and followed it with a 3-pointer from the corner moments later.

Senior postman Martin Stewart knocks in the up and under layup for the Rockets, who were eliminated from the postseason.

Senior Martin Stewart knocked in points six and seven on a pretty up and under move in the post before Jayden Hernandez hit two free throws for Central Magnet.

The Tigers put together a 9-2 run and tied the game on a Will Carver 3-pointer.

Not to be outdone, Rocket senior guard Ty Hengesbach drilled a long bomb as time ran out in the first quarter with Forrest leading 12-9.

Senior Mitchell Everett (22) drops a 3-pointer in the second quarter for the Rockets, who lost 56-48 to the Tigers in a first-round District 12-AA Tournament satellite game.

A Carver bucket to begin quarter number two was followed by a deep 3-pointer by Forrest senior Mitchell Everett, kicking off an 8-0 Forrest run that included a three-point play on a drive to the hoop by Hengesbach and a lay-in by Andrew Timmons that made it 20-11.

The Tigers extended their claws, scratching at the lead to put together a huge 17-8 run, eventually tying the game at 28 on a Carver drive to the hoop with 16.9 seconds remaining in the first half.

Central Magnet scored six straight points to start the second half, but the Rockets stormed back with a 7-1 burst, beginning with a Curtis 3-pointer and ending on a Sam Ford swoop to the hoop that made it 35-35 with 3:53 remaining in the third quarter.

There was no scoring on several trips down the floor for both ball clubs until the senior Ford scored and Curtis added another drive to the dish to make it a four-point game in favor of Forrest.

MCM came up with five points to end the period, while a Spencer McCown flight to the dish kept Forrest in the lead at 41-40, entering the fourth quarter.

Everett knocked in a low post bucket to start the period, but over the next three minutes the Tigers put together a back-breaking 10-1 run to take a 50-44 lead with 4:13 left in the contest.

McCown and Carver exchanged buckets out of a Forrest timeout and McCown drove to the hoop again to score and was fouled with just under a minute to go in the contest.

The free throw was no good and the score was 52-48 in favor of the Tigers, who finished Forrest off at the free throw line as they made 4-of-6 down the stretch to move on to the district tournament semifinals, while the Rockets’ season came to a close.

“We had a real good mindset coming in, it was disappointing not to finish ahead,” Toombs said. “I thought we had a really good game plan and what we were doing was working, but hey you know what basketball is about, for them to win it didn’t go in and it has go in for you to win.”

The Rockets (5-22) are 0-6 all-time versus MCM and have a 28-87 overall record over the last four years.

Senior Sam Ford (24) looks for an alley for a drive or a pass at Murfreesboro Central Magnet School Tuesday night.

“Those four seniors (Everett, Hengesbach, Ford, and Stewart) have been with me a long time, they have played hard, they’ve practiced hard, they’ve committed themselves from the beginning and they are a dedicated hard-working group and I’m very proud of all four of them,” Toombs said. “Martin came along and became a good basketball player, Sam worked hard on his own when he was younger and continued to work hard and got better with his skills, Ty did the same thing….he went to summer leagues and started playing and what can you say about Mitchell, he is six foot, no wing span and he fights his rear end off and Mitchell gets every ounce of whatever ability he has in him and plus some.”

The remainder of the tournament moves to Forrest on Friday as MCM (18-9) takes on the second-seeded Marshall County Tigers (14-12) in a battle of the Big Cats in the second game of a doubleheader.

Number one Nolensville (16-10) plays Community (17-11) in the first game with tipoff scheduled for 6 p.m.

Community beat Giles County 61-56 at Unionville on Tuesday night.

By advancing to the tournament semifinals, all four teams secured a spot in next week’s Region 6-AA Tournament at East Hickman.

The top four teams remaining from District 11-AA are in order, Fairview (26-2), Camden (21-5), Lewis County (17-11), and Creekwood (6-19).

FHS 12 16 13 7-48

MCM 9 19 12 16-56

FHS (48): Cameron Curtis 18, Ty Hengesbach 9, Sam Ford 6, Mitchell Everett 5, Spencer McCown 4, Martin Stewart 4, Andrew Timmons 2.

3-Point Goals (5): Curtis 2, Hengesbach 2, Everett.

Free Throws (7-for-12): Curtis 2-for-4, Ford 2-for-4, McCown 2-for-2, Hengesbach 1-for-1, Stewart 0-for-1.

MCM (56): Will Carver 18, Steph Laird 11, Jack Smith 9, Jayden Hernandez 6, Patrick Norman 5, Micah Harris 4, Gage Swanson 3.

3-Point Goals (6): Carver 2, Smith 2, Hernandez, Swanson.

Free Throws (14-for-26): Laird 2-for-7, Carver 4-for-6, Hernandez 3-for-5, Norman 3-for-4, Smith 2-for-3, Swanson 0-for-1.

Halftime Score: Forrest 28, Murfreesboro Central Magnet 28.