Forest Park’s Ben Painter loads up a two-handed cross-court pass during the Trojans’ recent game with Bark River-Harris.
CRYSTAL FALLS—Three nights after their highest-scoring game of the season, Forest Park’s boys had their low point total last Friday.
The week started on an impressive note, as the Trojans rolled over Florence 75-44 on Feb. 22. But Carney-Nadeau, battling for the Skyline Conference title, shut down Forest Park’s offense Feb. 25 in a 52-33 win for the Wolves.
The Trojans finish the regular season at home against North Central Feb. 28. They go into that game with a 7-12 season record, 4-9 in the Skyline Conference.
At Florence on Feb. 22, the Trojans went to work quickly, building up a 23-6 first quarter lead and moving on to an easy win.
It was the Trojans’ highest scoring game of the season (previous high: 64), and five different Trojans scored in double digits. Michael Smithson led the way, jump-starting the offense by scoring nine of his game-high 15 points in the first quarter.
“The kids played like they were supposed to,” Coach Chris Nocerini said. “They went out, did the little things they do well, baskets dropped and they had a nice evening.” Taking care of business.
FP’s scoring was nicely complemented by strong defense that held Florence to 11 points in the first half. “Just the same thing we do every game: Tough, hard-nosed defense and sagging to the penetration. No changes, nothing different.”
“We’re not a tricky team on defense. We’re coming at you, and that’s what we do.”
Smithson’s 15 points led the team, and he was backed up by Chris Hilberg’s 14, Jake Divine’s 12 and 10 each by both Austin Snell and Ben Painter. It was another big night for Trojan rebounding: 56 for the team. Hilberg led the team with nine rebounds, and Smithson, Snell and Alex Takala each had six boards.
Dan DeCamara and Bryce Kerscher both scored nine for Florence.
Back home against Carney-Nadeau, which is closing in on the Skyline Conference title, the Trojans’ scoring was shut down but good by the Wolves’ defense.
Carney dominated from the start and led 25-8 at halftime. Coach Nocerini said the Trojans had a “typical night.”
“Lid on the bucket,” he said. “Lots of good looks. Just nothing would drop for them.”
Credit Carney’s defense, too, which limited the Trojans’ looks at and claimed most missed shots. The Wolves also pressed FP into turnovers that they turned into transition baskets.
The Trojans did win the rebound battle, 40-29. They shot 30% for the night.
Divine led the Trojans with 12 points and 19 rebounds. Smithson had six, and Painter and Hilberg scored five each.
Lucas Moreau led the Wolves with 23 points, including four three-pointers. Two other Carney players scored nine.
The win earned Carney at least a tie for the Skyline title. They entered the night tied in a first place tie with North Central, but while the Wolves were winning at Forest Park, the Jets were losing at Bark River-Harris.
• The Trojan boys finish their regular season Feb. 28 at home against North Central.
Forest Park will host the Class D District 127 boys tournament, which starts Monday, March 5. The Trojans drew a first round bye and will face the winner of the Ewen-Trout Creek vs. Wakefield-Marenisco first round game on Wednesday, March 7, at 7 p.m.
ETC is 17-1 entering this week and has to be considered the favorite for the trophy. After last week’s games, Ontonagon is 10-8, Bessemer is 10-9, Watersmeet is 7-11 and Wakefield-Marenisco and Forest Park are both 7-12.
Trojans 23 10 15 27 -- 75
Bobcats 6 5 11 22 -- 44
Wolves 11 14 7 20 -- 52
Trojans 4 4 14 11 -- 33