FP boys fight off Knights in OT Norway surge

CRYSTAL FALLS—In its previous game, the Forest Park boys basketball team and head coach Chris Nocerini left the floor feeling upbeat after defeating Ewen-Trout Creek by eight points to snap a brief two-game losing streak and pull back to .500.
    Problem was that game was played on Dec. 17. And with 17 days before their next game, any momentum the Trojans had built during the win over the Panthers disappeared into the basketball wilderness of the holiday break.
    So when they took the floor again on Jan. 3 against Norway, the Trojans played unevenly at times, but in the end held off the Knights 56-46 in overtime in a Skyline Central Conference game at Eddie Chambers Gym.
    “I have always said it’s a restart,” Nocerini said of the first game back. “Basically, we’re restarting. We did a great job against Ewen and I really felt good after that game. I wished we could have played again right after that.
    “Tonight, it just looked like two teams that had taken two weeks off and whatever team could grab a break would probably win the game.”
    That team was Forest Park, which upped its record to 4-3 overall. Max Nylund buried a 3-pointer off a fine assist from Riley Hendrickson to begin the extra session and later scored off a drive. Hendrickson sank three of four free throws down the stretch of overtime and the FP defense pitched a shutout to win a game they had controlled most of the evening.
    “It’s always difficult coming off a long break at Christmas,” said the senior Hendrickson, who scored 12 points, all after halftime. “You take a long time off and all you do is practice. You never get the game feel until you finally come back, and it’s always a little sloppier than when you left.”

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