(T-G Photo by Chris Siers)
Friday night was just another chapter in a long book of thrilling games between the two 9-A schools.
With the score tied at 45 and less than 10 seconds to play in the fourth quarter, senior Haley Edmondson found fellow senior Kelsey Parker for the backdoor layup, with what ended up being the game-winner with seven seconds left to play.
"Every game we play is a tight game. Both teams just came out and played their hearts out," said Cascade coach Chad Spencer.
"As a coach, I'm glad we got the win, but it's one of those games that it's a shame that one team has to walk out of here with a loss."
Neither team was able to gain much of an edge over the other at any point during the game.
In the first quarter, Cascade rallied on a 6-0 run to an 8-4 advantage, only to have the lead cut to one point with a big 3-pointer from Forrest's Kirsten Holder to close the first quarter.
Still, Cascade held the slim advantage. But as in the first frame, the second quarter was a back and forth contest, with the Lady Rockets getting another big 3-pointer to knot the game at 20 apiece just before the half.
Several times in the second quarter, Cascade would get a few shots to fall, but the Lady Rockets would hit a 3-pointer to bring it back within one or two points on each possession.
"They're great shooters from the perimeter. A lot of that is because their guards drive towards the basket so well," Spencer said.
The Lady Rockets utilized their 3-point shooting ability to build a slim lead mid-way through the third quarter.
With just over four minutes to go in the third, Forrest got a pair of treys and extended the lead to six points.
Forrest added another field goal a few minutes later and held a 33-25 advantage with about three minutes left in the third.
Following the last three, the Lady Champs kicked it in overdrive and took off on a 10-0 run and recaptured the lead, 35-33 with just under two minutes to play.
But Forrest just wouldn't quit.
The Lady Rockets were able to get a few shots to close the third and finish with the one-point advantage.
Following the ebb and flow of the first three quarters, the two teams battled down to the wire until the game was tied at 45 with just over one minute to play in regulation.
Needing a big play, Edmondson and Parker came through in a pinch for the Lady Champs.
"I thought Haley Edmondson really turned it up in the second half. And that was a great pass to Kelsey for the last score," Spencer said.
Even with the last score, Forrest had a chance to tie or even take the lead, but couldn't convert thanks to a big defensive effort from the Lady Champs.
On an inbounds play with 1.5 seconds left in regulation, Forrest was forced to throw deep, and was forced to take a long 3-point attempt, but couldn't connect.
"We were worried with 1.5 seconds left, we knew they had to get the shot off quick. I thought we played pretty good defense about making that girl catching it so deep. And we had enough basketball savvy not to foul her and put her on the line with no time on the clock," Spencer said.
While it was a win signed, sealed, and delivered by a pair of seniors, Spencer credited several other Lady Champions for stepping in and keeping the momentum going when a few starters got into early foul trouble.
"I got some great minutes from Jessica Ervin, Maya (Gaston), and Karly (Grissom). When they came in and put the time on the floor, it was a big positive for us," he said.
Keeping with recent trend, Edmondson led all scorers, banking 19 on Friday night while Parker added 10.
Fellow senior Elora Skuce fueled the Lady Champion ranged attack with three triples.
While Cascade dominated the paint, the Lady Rockets lit up the scoreboard all night with their ranged attack.
In fact, Forrest connected on more 3-point field goals (9) than 2-pointers (7).
The win keeps the Lady Champs in contention for the regular season district championship and sets up a showdown against the MTCS Lady Cougars on Tuesday night.
Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. in Wartrace.
Forrest 7 13 16 9 -- 45
Cascade 8 12 15 12 -- 47
Forrest: Savannah Brothers 12, Candace Daughrity 11, Hannah Phifer 9, Caitlyn Yost 5, Scarlett Roberson 5, Kirsten Holder 3.
Cascade: Haley Edmondson 19, Kelsey Parker 10, Elora Skuce 9, Maya Gaston 6, Jessica Ervin 2, Andrea Pigg 1.
3-Point goals: Forrest (9): Daughrity 3, Brothers 2, Phifer 2, Holder, Roberson; Cascade (5): Skuce 3, Edmondson 2.
Halftime score: Forrest 20, Cascade 20.