Banged up Lady Trojans drop three in final week

CRYSTAL FALLS —High school basketball teams always want to head into the postseason with two things – a healthy roster and a team in form.
    Unfortunately, the Forest Park Lady Trojans entered district play on Monday against fourth-ranked Carney-Nadeau with neither. In the final week of the regular season, the Lady Trojans dropped three games – a 51-44 setback to Kingsford, a 54-42 loss to North Central and an 82-55 defeat to Munising.     
    Making matters more difficult for FP coach Jackie Giuliani and her team are late-season injuries to leading scorer Mercedes Simmons (finger), third-leading scorer Claudia Nocerini (back) and starter Sydney Honkala (ankle).
    But to count out FP (9-10) would be foolhardy. The Lady Trojans were 9-5 before injuries started to befall the team and Giuliani’s team has shown the ability to play with and beat anybody in the district field, including the Wolves, who FP defeated by nine in the season’s first game.
    Nevertheless, Forest Park will have to shake off last week’s three losses, the first of which came against Kingsford (12-8) on Feb. 25 at Eddie Chambers Gymnasium. The Lady Trojans fell behind 9-2 against the Flivvers but pulled back to within 13-11 on the strength of four points from Simmons, three from Dalas Loehr and two from Cassie Divine.
    Despite the comeback, there was trouble in the air for the Lady Trojans as they fell into deep foul trouble. Three Forest Park starters were whistled for two fouls each in the opening quarter as Kingsford began a parade to the foul line that lasted the entire night.
    In the end, the Flivvers hit 20 of 32 (62 percent) from the line, while FP shot just 9 and made 5 (55 percent).
    It’s tough to overcome such a disparity and the Lady Trojans were unable to do it. Kingsford took a 26-15 lead at halftime, but the Lady Trojans did make a push to close within 30-27 on two 3-pointers from Loehr, two buckets from Simmons and a hoop from Destiny Ferrara.
    Nevertheless, the Flivvers answered with a 9-2 run and reestablished a comfortable lead. The Lady Trojans cut the deficit to eight twice in the fourth quarter but could not pull any closer.

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