By RICKEY CLARDY - Sports Writer
UNIONVILLE — The Community Viqueens led the Forrest Lady Rockets by just two points after one quarter, but a relentless full-court press and a decided advantage on the boards allowed the Viqueens to stretch their lead and carried Community to a 58-42 victory over the Lady Rockets in a District 7-AA basketball contest Friday night.
Macyn Kirby scored eight points in the opening quarter as Forrest (4-13, 1-1) started the game in grand style with a 6-0 run before the Viqueens scored their first points midway through the quarter.
With five different Viqueen players netting points, Community (14-5, 2-0) fought back with a 6-0 run to tie the game at 9-9 and ended with five consecutive points to take a 14-12 lead to the second quarter.
The Viqueens turned up the pressure in the quarter as Forrest had problems navigating the Community full-court press.
Addison Brothers led Community with five points while Shelby Cawthon added four as the Viqueens stretched their lead to 26-19 at the break.
“We had a slow start at home,” Coach Cody Pierce of the Viqueens said. “Forrest showed up those first four minutes ready to play.”
“Once we started scoring, the press helped us out in our offense,” Pierce added.
M.J. Simmons scored seven points to lead the Viqueens in the third quarter as Community gradually increased its lead.
With the help of a strong rebounding effort on both the offensive and defensive boards, the Viqueens were able to offset five points from Kirby with a 9-0 run to take a 39-25 lead with 2:59 left.
Community ended the quarter with a 39-28 lead.
“At halftime, we came out and had the ball and turned it over on two straight possessions,” Coach Hal Murrell of the Lady Rockets said.
“They go 15 and we can’t stay in the zone down 15 and have to go man and that was it.”
Haley Mitchell scored nine points and Simmons added eight in the fourth as the Viqueens were able to find the open player consistently for several layups. Community took its biggest lead at 58-36 with 2:48 to play and finished with lone possession of first place in the district.
“We knew this was a big game to stay on top of the district,” Pierce said.
Simmons scored 17 points to lead three Viqueens in double figures. Mitchell and Cawthon each added 11.
Kirby led all scorers with 18 points for the Lady Rockets.
“Very proud of our effort in the first half, but we got absolutely whipped in the second half,” Murrell said. “We couldn’t match their physicality.”
“They’re a very good basketball team and probably one of the most physical teams we’ve played this year,” Murrell added.
“Our scoring was really balanced,” Pierce said. “We did a good job moving the ball and being patient.”
“Everybody was getting good looks the entire game,” Pierce added.
Neither team enjoyed much success at the free throw line. The Viqueens were 2-of-6 at the charity stripe while Forrest was 3-of-6.
Murrell is looking for his team to gel before tournament time comes around.
“We’re just kind of young in spots,” Murrell said. “We had some kids hurt this summer and it’s still a work-in-progress.”
“I know that may sound funny being the middle of January, but I’ve been telling them all year we’ve got to be playing well in the middle of February because that’s when it really counts,” Murrell added.
Community entertains Cornersville in a non-district matchup Tuesday night while the Lady Rockets return to District 7-AA play with a game at Cascade. Both games begin at 6 p.m.
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