Nolensville dismantles Lady Rockets in D12-AA semifinal
Nolensville continues to be a thorn in Forrest’s side as the Lady Knights notched their sixth win in a row and third this season over the Lady Rockets via a not even close 52-33 win at Chapel Hill on Thursday in the District 12-AA Tournament semifinals.
Forrest (18-11) hosted Community (18-9) in the tournament consolation game Monday night, while the Lady Knights (21-6) squared off with the Marshall County Tigerettes (22-6) in the title tilt at Chapel Hill.
The things that happened tonight are just mental things and are correctable,” Forrest coach Jeremy Jean said. “We didn’t play that bad, but when it was bad it was real bad, it’s either feast or famine with us and we just have to find a way to get more feast than famine.”
Both squads came in to Thursday night’s game with Valentines on their minds as they played to an 8-8 lackluster first quarter tie.
“We were tied 8-8 at the end of the first quarter and came out of the zone to rest some guards because our depth is gone now,” Jean said. “We lost their best shooter twice in a row and she made two 3’s and then 12 (Leftwich) made a three, but that was on me, I told them let her shoot it out there.”
Nolensville’s stellar backcourt duo of 2017-2018 District 12-AA MVP Grace Baird and her all-district counterpart, lefty Parker Leftwich got serious at the outset of the second quarter as Leftwich threw up a long bomb to start the period before Baird drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to make it a 17-8 contest.
Forrest fought back as Ally Blanton scored and after a Nolensville turnover, Anna Blanton got an easy layup on a backdoor play under the basket and converted a free throw on the three-point play.
The squads exchanged buckets for a 19-15 Nolensville lead when the Lady Knights took it to the home squad via an 8-0 run to end the first half on two Sydney Mickulin free throws, a patented Leftwich steal and score, and two more Baird baskets.
The Lady Rockets were napping to begin the second half as Leftwich stole the rock and converted again.
“We talked about that the last three days…..don’t pass it in that direction and if you do make sure it is a good pass, but we made some lazy passes and she picked them off and went down and scored,” Jean said. “We could have held them in the 30’s if we could have cut that stuff out, guarded the shooters in the zone, and rebounded a little bit better.”
Four points by Jaide Langley and a bucket by Sydney Hill kept Forrest in the game as Nolensville led 33-21 when the bottom dropped out.
“Once they had us by about nine (points), they pinned their ears back and came right at us,” Jean said. “We had it to about 13 three possessions in a row and we came up empty with a missed layup, a missed jumper and a turnover, so if we make any of them we were a few plays of being back in it and we just couldn’t make those plays tonight.”
Baird drilled a 3-pointer and after a Forrest miscue, Mickulin scored in the low post and with 4:21 remaining in the third period, the Lady Knights led 38-21.
Langley came up with a steal and score moments later, but the end was near as the Lady Knights ripped off a 9-2 run to end the third quarter, including a period ending missile by Leftwich that gave Nolensville an insurmountable 22-point lead at 47-25, entering the fourth quarter.
With the game in hand, Nolensville was only interested in running out the clock as Forrest outscored the Lady Knights 8-5 in the final period.
Leftwich led the Lady Knights in the scoring column with 15 points while Baird and Mickulin were also in doubles figures with 14 and 13 points respectively.
Langley was the lone Forrest player in double figures with 14 points.
Forrest 8 7 10 8-33
Nolensville 8 19 20 5-52
Forrest (33): Jaide Langley 14, Sydney Hill 8, Ally Blanton 5, Anna Blanton 3, Shea Lewis 2, Alex Davenport 1.
3-Point Goals (2): Langley, Ally Blanton.
Free Throws (7-for-13): Langley 3-for-4, Laura Mealer 0-for-4, Hill 2-for-2, Davenport 1-for-2, Anna Blanton 1-for-1.
Nolensville (52): Parker Leftwich 15, Grace Baird 14, Sydney Mickulin 13, Addie Keen 4, Kendal Matas 3, Caymin Ladd 2, Julia Nighan 1.
3-Point Goals (5): Baird 3, Leftwich 2.
Free Throws (11-for-16): Mickulin 3-for-4, Laird 2-for-2, Keen 2-for-2, Leftwich 1-for-2, Baird 1-for-2, Matas 1-for-2, Nighan 1-for-2.
Halftime Score: Forrest 8, Nolensville 8.