(T-G Photo by Chris Siers)
As hot as the Champs were in the first quarter, the Rockets roared back to life in the second half and chased the Champions down to the wire, but were unable to knock off the visitors as Cascade picked up it's third district road win, 65-57.
Forrest simply had little to no answer for Cascade in the first quarter as the Champs raced out to a 24-11 lead after the first eight minutes of play.
James Lattimore powered the Champion offense in the first quarter, scoring eight of his team-high 16 points in the first frame--all eight of which came in the paint.
"James got us started again. We had some mismatches in the post area and James took advantage early," said Cascade coach Mike Edmondson.
But Forrest charged back into the game and took a 43-40 lead with 1:30 left to play in the third period after Mark Pope drilled a trey from distance.
"Pope has been doing that for four years. We had Blake guarding him, who is our best defender, and he still scored some points," Edmondson said.
Powered by Pope, the Rockets took advantage of some Cascade miscues on offense and got some quick baskets to help lead the comeback.
"We had a little spell, but it really wasn't our defense that gave up the points, it was more of our offense giving up some turnovers and easy baskets," Edmondson said.
Still, there was no denying the offensive power the Champs were able to flex.
The team connected on 27-of-45 shots from the floor, including a 60 percent night from beyond the arc.
Those 3's, Edmondson said, helped create some breathing room for the Champs.
"We had two situations at the end of quarters to get a three and one after a time out. That's nine points off of set stuff," he said.
In all, Cascade got big points from Will Holt, who sank a pair of 3's off those set plays.
Defensively, Cascade switched from a man-to-man, to a zone, and back to a man-to-man defensive scheme, which Edmondson says slowed down the Rocket comeback.
"I thought it kind of changed the tempo a little bit. They were kind of on a run and I thought it slowed them down a little bit. It made them have to work a little harder for some of their shots," he said.
Still, Pope managed to account for a game-high 22 points, including four from distance.
Cascade, on the other hand, saw a steady mix of points in the paint from Lattimore and junior Jesse Barnes, who had 15.
Holt tallied 13 for the winners, including three treys.
The win marked the third district road victory for the Champs, with wins over Eagleville, Community, and now Forrest, a feat which is a big boost for Cascade in the early district standings.
With the only blemish being a 66-58 loss on their home court to Huntland last week, the Champs take aim at picking up another district win against a red-hot Fayetteville City team on Friday night before the Christmas break.
"That was big to win all three road games. We would like to go into the break with a big win," Edmondson said.
Cascade 24 5 18 18 -- 65
Forrest 11 16 16 14 -- 57
Cascade: James Lattimore 16, Jesse Barnes 15, Will Holt 13, Alex Hatchett 7, Jake Pimental 7, Blake Floyd 4, Sam Gardner 3.
Forrest: Mark Pope 22, Juice Rumley 10, Zach Horvath 9, Jacob Daughrity 7, Lucas Pruitt 4, Dakota Zimmerman 3, Kennedy Mathis 2.
3-Point goals: Cascade (6): Holt 3, Gardner, Hatchett, Pimental; Forrest (6): Pope 4, Rumley 2.
Halftime score: Cascade 29, Forrest 17.