CHAPEL HILL — For their second-straight matchup, the Forrest Rockets have punched the No. 4 ranked Cascade Champions in the mouth, but came up just short of knocking off the District 7-AA …
CHAPEL HILL — For their second-straight matchup, the Forrest Rockets have punched the No. 4 ranked Cascade Champions in the mouth, but came up just short of knocking off the District 7-AA leaders.
On Friday night, Champion senior Jackson Davis came up with a key steal and layup in the final minute to make it a three-point contest.
Forrest had a pair of chances in the closing seconds to tie the game on a three-point attempt.
Bray McCown launched a three-pointer that caught the iron and bounced off and with less than a second left, Forrest caught the rebound and kicked the ball back to senior Davin Porter on the perimeter, who banked in the three, but was ruled to have made the shot after the buzzer sounded, and Cascade was able to escape with a 39-36 win over the Rockets.
“We went toe-to-toe with them twice, we just have come up short against them both times. The guys have played hard. They’re a good team. They’re the No. 4 team in the state for a reason. They have guys that can catch and can shoot. We just came up short. We had a chance there at the end, again, to win it,” Rocket coach Shane Chapman said.
It was by no stretch an offensive masterpiece for either team, but both teams kept within a one-to-two possession lead of their opponent.
In the fourth quarter alone, the two teams swapped control of the lead six times before Cascade hit the go-ahead shot with 1:09 to go in regulation.
Forrest locked down Cascade scorer Lucas Clanton from the perimeter, but the Champion senior still rattled loose for a game-high 16 points.
While Porter has been the consistent playmaker for the Rockets all season, on Friday night, Forrest consistently got timely plays from everyone that stepped on the floor.
“Whether it was a rebound, or a charge we had to take, or getting the ball swung around to the corner for somebody else to get a shot—we had eight guys who played a ton of minutes tonight and all eight of those guys gave us a great effort,” Chapman said.
With the regular season wrapped up, Forrest now sets its sights on Grundy County in the District 7-AA semifinals.
During their first meeting against the Yellow Jackets, Grundy County shot the lights out and dealt the Rockets a 61-39 loss.
In their second meeting, Forrest had chances to knock off the Yellow Jackets, but came up short in a 66-60 loss.
But they say it’s tough to beat a team three times in a season and Chapman feels like his squad is turning a corner at the right time.
“Our guys are super locked into what we’re trying to do. We’re trying all kinds of things defensively. Our size has been our biggest downfall all year, not having a big, but we’ve got guys that can cut to the rim and some guys who can get the open shot to go in. We’ve got to focus on making the easy ones inside. I think it’s a different team you’re going to look at in the district tournament,” he said.
“ Hopefully we can get some stuff squared away against Grundy County in the first round and get to see them again her at our place and make a little run.”
The Rockets are set to take on No. 2 seed Grundy County in the District 7-AA semifinals on Friday night at 7:30 in Chapel Hill.
Cascade 11 8 10 10 — 39 Forrest 8 13 7 8 — 36
Cascade: Lucas Clanton 16, Saebyn Burris 9, Isaac McElroy 6, Jackson Davis 5, Jayden Gulick 3. Forrest: Davin Porter 13, Ben Villazon 8, Jimmy Bond 5, Mason Harper 4, Ryan Meglis 4, Bray McCown 2. 3-Point goals: Cascade (1): Clanton. Halftime score: Forrest 21, Cascade 19.