CRYSTAL FALLS—Forest Park’s boys team attended a basketball clinic last Monday, Jan. 7. Unfortunately, it was conducted by Kingsford, which handed the Trojans a 56-36 loss in their only game last week.
The loss drops the Trojans’ season record to 3-3 overall. They remain 1-1 in the Skyline Conference.
Coach Chris Nocerini said the game “exposed to them and me that, boy, you really have to work on some of this stuff. You play a good team like Kingsford, and they are going to expose all of your weaknesses.”
Short-handed: As they fell behind in the first quarter, the Trojans lost the services Derek Aberly and Raymond Tomasik, who both picked up two early fouls and had to take a seat. Making matters worse, the Trojans’ usual sixth man, L.J. Burns, was sick.
Despite it all, the Trojans stayed close for most of the first half—until just before halftime, when the Flivvers went on a 8-0 tear for a 27-17 halftime lead. “They really blew the game open.”
Big down low: The Flivvers kept momentum on their side in the third quarter, outscoring FP 20-8. “That early foul trouble hurt us,” said Nocerini. “Our guards matched up well, but our big guys had a hard time down low. They were bigger than us, and at times they just seemed a step quicker.”
Forest Park shot 34% to the Flivvers’ 45% inside the arc. As for three-pointers, it just wasn’t the Trojans’ night, as they made just 1 of 16.
“The kids never quit competing through that whole game.” Nocerini said. “Everyone on that floor worked hard.” Now the players and coaches have to go back to practice and work on getting better.
Repair shop: “Everything we did wrong was fixable,” the coach said. “I don’t mind fixing a glitch here or there. This group has great attitudes, and they’ll come out of this and play just as hard the next game—if not harder.”
Austin Snell led the Trojans with 11 points, and Derek Aberly scored six. The coach said Snell and Johnson both played all 32 minutes and played hard all night.
For the Flivvers, Caleb Harrington led with 20 points, and Aiden Wienke backed him up with 11.
Numbers: FP team: 14-41 (34%) 2’s; 1-16 (6%) 3’s; 5-10 FTs; 34 rebs. Kingsford team: 18-40 (45%) 2’s; 2-10 (20%) 3’s; 14-19 FTs; 42 rebs.
FP players: Austin Snell, 11 points; Derek Aberly, 6 pts; Chris Hilberg 5 pts; Jeff Johnson, 6 rebs, 3 stls. Kingsford players: Caleb Harrington, 20 pts, 10 rebs; Aiden Wienke, 11 pts, 8 rebs.
Trojans 6 9 8 13 -- 36
Flivvers 11 16 20 9 -- 56
Coming up: Along with the rematch with West Iron (at the Eddie Chambers Gym on Jan. 17), the Trojans experience something new and unusual this week: a conference game.
When they hosted Bark River-Harris Jan. 14, it was only the Trojans’ third Skyline Conference game of the season. That’s about to change: Starting next week, they face Skyline opponents in 11 of their last 12 games. It starts with a Jan. 22 visit to North Dickinson.
“That’s what we want,” said Nocerini. “We’re excited to get back in the conference and get playing our old opponents.”