Lady Trojans rally past Eagles

CRYSTAL FALLS—After a 60-54 overtime loss at Mid Peninsula on Jan. 9, Forest Park’s girls rallied in the second half to earn a 44-43 win at home against Stephenson on Jan. 11. The split for the week leaves the Lady Trojans with a 4-3 record as they continue a string of six straight home games.
    Mercedes Simmons continued to be the team’s brightest star last week, scoring 51 points and grabbing 41 rebounds in the two games. But the Lady Trojans took on Stephenson without starting point guard Dalas Loehr, who took an elbow during the Mid Pen game and was sidelined with a concussion.
    The team missed her. Destiny Ferrara started in her place and took good care of the ball—but Loehr’s outside shot and driving skills were absent.
    “We had a hard time moving the ball and getting into our offensive set,” coach Jackie Giuliani said. “In the first half, we really just didn’t play well.”
    The Eagles led 22-13 at halftime, with FP making just 20 percent of its shots from the floor. The Trojans boosted their offense by putting more defensive pressure on Stephenson in the second half, forcing turnovers. “That ignited us, and we were able to catch up.” A 17-6 third quarter put Forest Park up by two, 30-28, going into the fourth quarter.
    The final eight minutes went back and forth. Sydney Honkala fouled out, and the Eagles got chances at the free throw line. “Our girls stayed strong,” continued Giuliani. “In the end, we made the baskets we needed to make.” On a night when both teams really struggled at the 3-point line, Claudia Nocerini popped in two clutch 3s in the final quarter.

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