EAST BEND — The first round of the 2A NCHSAA playoffs saw the Forbush Lady Falcons (21-6) take on East Rutherford (18-7) on Tuesday night. The Falcons earned a 12 seed, while the Cavaliers earned a 17 seed in the Western bracket. The Falcons and the Cavaliers traded blows all night, until East Rutherford took a fourth-quarter lead and a first-round win, 71-64, to end Forbush’s season.
Coming into the game, the Falcons knew they would be matching up with an offensive team that has no problem out-matching its opponents down low or from the three-point line. On defense, the Cavaliers have moments of weakness, and Forbush had the right opportunities to exploit East Rutherford.
The first period both teams came out on fire with three-point shots and precise passes. Nicole Scott opened up the night with a three-point shot from the top of the arch to give Forbush a 3-0 lead. The Cavaliers drove down low on their next possession to make an easy lay-up, and start the seesaw effect.
Parkley Hennings gave the Falcons a 5-2 lead after a lay-up, but East Rutherford answered back with a three-point shot to tie the game 5-5. Scott didn’t let the tie game last long as she put up another three-point basket to turn the tide back in Forbush’s favor.
Though the Falcons had an 8-5 lead, the Cavaliers kept crashing the basket until they put up two more points. The back-and-forth blows kept up the majority of the first period, as Casey Brown was fouled and made both of her free throws to take Forbush lead to 10-7. East tied the game 10-10 on its next possession, and the Falcons answered back as Brown made a two-point basket with an assist from Scott.
The Cavaliers took their first lead of the night and their next run as a player set up on the top of the arch and made a three-point basket. With a 13-12 lead, the Cavaliers stole the ball as Forbush was trying to make its way down the court. East made another three-point shot to take a four-point lead over the Falcons.
Forbush was able to battle back to tie the game as Calyn Davis was fouled and made both of her free throws, then Hennings made another two-point basket. With the score tied 16-16, Forbush took the lead as Hennings found herself open yet again to score for Forbush. With time winding down, East Rutherford was able to take the lead back as it made a three-point shot to take a 19-18 lead. Forbush took the lead back with less than 30 seconds left as Brown made a two-point shot. With the clock at 12 seconds, East Rutherford ran down the court and set up a play which saw them make a two-point shot and take a 21-20 lead at the end of the first period.
In the second period, the Falcons were held to just five points as the Cavaliers scored 14. Forbush’s baskets came from Sidney Matthews and Hope Grimes. Matthews was fouled and made both of her free throws, and Grimes made a three-point basket. East Rutherford scored its 14 points from the key as well as the top of the arch. At halftime the Cavaliers had a commanding 35-25 lead over the Falcons.
After halftime things looked to be going Forbush’s way as the team came together on offense and defense. Scott once again started things off with a basket as she stole the ball from East Rutherford and made a lay-up for the Falcons. After her two-point basket, Scott scored again as she was fed the ball at the side of the arch and made a three-point shot.
The Falcons pulled within five points, but the Cavaliers scored a two-point basket to take a seven-point lead. Hennings took the score back to five points with a lay-up, and then made the score a three-point game as she was fouled and made both of her free throws.
With the Falcons gaining on the Cavaliers, East Rutherford went on a nine-point scoring run to take a 46-34 lead. Davis stopped the run with a three-point shot and two free throws to take the score to 46-39. Just as it seemed Forbush was getting back into the game, East Rutherford made another three-point shot to lengthen its lead. At the end of the third period, Forbush had cut East’s lead to eight points.
In the final period, both teams scored double digits as the pressure of making it to the second round of the playoffs came bearing down. Davis opened up the final minutes with two free throws. Hennings followed up Davis’ free throws with two of her own. With the score lingering at 50-46, East scored its first basket of the period, but the Falcons answered back.
Although the Falcons were able to score 22 points, the team never came within four points of the Cavaliers. East Rutherford scored 21 points and came away with a 71-64 win over the Falcons.
The Falcons were 19-29 from the free-throw line, and had 16 points in the paint.
Calyn Davis scored 17 points for the Falcons, while Nicole Scott had 16, Parkley Hennings had 13, Casey Brown had eight, Hope Grimes had six, and Sidney Matthews had four.
Forbush ends its season with a 21-6 overall record.