Bolts stop Trojans’ dream run
CRYSTAL FALLS—Heading into its final game of the regular season, the Forest Park boys basketball team had lost five of its previous six games, and any thought of the Trojans advancing to a regional final would have been fantastical.
However, despite more than a few inconsistent stretches during the regular slate, the Trojans always possessed the potential to win most any game they played. And that potential resided mainly in their ability to shoot from the perimeter.
So, coach Chris Nocerini knew that if his shooters could get hot, his team could go on a tear. And that’s exactly what happened, beginning with a victory in the last game regular-season game and extending into the district, where the Trojans won two games and the district title.
The question heading into the regional was whether the blazing shooting would continue. Turns out, it did for one more game as Forest Park defeated Bessemer 65-62 in the semifinals before the whirlwind lost its energy and the Trojans were beaten by Dollar Bay 64-48 in the final.
Nocerini said he wanted his team to play loose and free at the regional.
“Yup that was it. And we were trying to come out of the gates hard and Riley (Hendrickson) and Max (Nylund) came out firing again and did an outstanding job.”
In the semifinal against the Speedboys (16-5), Hendrickson went off like a firecracker. The senior scored eight quick points to lead the Trojans (12-12) to a 16-3 lead in the blink of an eye.
“It was his dream to win a district and he had never won a district game,” Nocerini said. “So, he was so loose going into (the Bessemer) game. He was smiling and joking.”
The Speedboys fought back in the second quarter, the first of two such comebacks that kept the game close to the final moments. After Tommy Showers hit a bucket to put his team up 31-17, the Speedboys went on a 12-0 run to pull within two.