EAST BEND - Friday’s Unifi Bowl meeting between the Lady Rams and Forbush had everything a rivalry matchup should have.
The Falcons jumped out to a huge, first-quarter lead before watching Starmount storm back. Trailing by six with 5:05 remaining, Forbush closed the game on a 9-0 run, highlighted by former Ram Paris Trivette’s last-second steal, as the Falcons held on for the wild 55-52 victory.
“That was a crazy one,” Forbush head coach Bradley Shore said. “That was a good game both ways. We jumped on them early but Starmount hung in there. We got back in the game. We could have folded in the fourth quarter, down six points on our own floor. But we stuck with it and pulled it out somehow.”
“I’m proud of my kids,” Starmount skipper Doug Chilton explained. “We got off to a bad start. We gave up several threes when we were trying to play some zone. But when we switched to man-to-man, I thought we really played with intensity. We did a good job of coming back on Forbush.”
The Lady Falcons came out on fire, knocking down five treys in the opening quarter - two by Savannah Hill and Brittany Moose each - jumping out to a 22-4 lead late in the first.
With their backs against the wall, Starmount started chipping away at the deficit. After a Brayln Hampton trifecta to close out the first quarter, the Rams out-scored Forbush 21-11 in the second to head into the break only down five at 33-28.
Starmount opened the third on a 9-3 burst and took its first lead of the game at 37-36 on a Miracle Walters baseline drive with 5:20 left. The basket capped an impressive 32-14 run that spanned parts of three quarters to get the Rams back into the game.
Now a ballgame, the rivals traded blows as Starmount grabbed a 48-42 lead after scoring eight-straight points to open the fourth.
Shore called a timeout as the Falcons regrouped. Coming out of the timeout, Forbush turned up the defensive pressure, holding the Rams scoreless over the final 5:05.
“Starmount. That’s all I had to say to them down the stretch,” he said. “We want to be in these close games. It’s better than being down 20 sitting on the bench pouting and waiting for the clock to run out. I told them to settle down and play defense, rebound and take care of the ball. And they did.”
The Falcons sank 5-of-8 free throws over that stretch to take a 53-52 lead with 2:24 remaining.
After a Forbush turnover on the inbounds with 12.4 left, Starmount had a chance for the win to complete the comeback.
Guilford College signee Heaven Walters dribbled the ball upcourt looking to run the final play. But Trivette, who played at Starmount last season, picked Walters’ pocket and dribbled the ball down the court. Moose, another former Ram, grabbed the loose ball and hit a shot at the buzzer to give Forbush the thrilling three-point victory.
“Paris surprised all of us. She made a play, and that’s something we talk about in practice. It was a good surprise,” Shore said. “It was more excitement than revenge for her. She wanted to do something to help beat her buddies.”
Hill paced Forbush with a team-high 20 points on the night, while Moose added 14 points.
Heaven Walters powered Starmount’s comeback with a game-high 22 points, while sister Miracle tacked on 14. Hampton added a dozen points before going down with a knee injury in the fourth quarter.
The Lady Rams (2-5, 2-3) return to the court Tuesday night against Alleghany. Forbush (3-9, 1-4) takes on Elkin Tuesday night before hosting Wilkes Central Friday.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or email@example.com.