Trojans drop opener at North Central 54-37

CRYSTAL FALLS—With three new starters and a few other new rotation players, Forest Park boys basketball coach Chris Nocerini knew his team’s season opener at traditional power North Central was going to be quite a challenge. Throw in the fact that the Jets may still have been sore about losing to the Trojans in the football playoffs in late October and the elements were there for a difficult evening.
    In the end it was. The Trojans got off to a decent start on Nov. 27 in Powers, scoring 16 points and trailing by just four heading into the second quarter. But that’s when the wheels came off as Forest Park scored just six points over the next 16 minutes and was never able to recover in a 54-37 defeat.
    Nocerini was asked if the problems were mostly due to the first game of a season with a team that is just beginning to play together.
    “Absolutely,” the veteran FP coach responded. “But give credit to North Central. Maybe they were angry from the football playoffs. But for us, it was a lot of fundamentals. I thought we would perform better, but we had three starters that are new to varsity ball and the guys coming off the bench have had their roles expanded.
    “When I took a deep breath and looked at it, I was happy because the effort was there. And we can work with them if the effort is there.”
    On the other hand, the Jets (2-0) brought back four seniors and a junior starter from a year ago. Still, neither North Central nor Forest Park shot the ball well in the game. The Jets connected on just 18 of 62 (29 percent) and the Trojans sank only 14 of 51 shots (27 percent).
    “For the most part, we got good shots,” Nocerini said. “Maybe offensively we weren’t aggressive enough coming off screens and setting screens. But we’re young.”
    After a tight first quarter, the Trojans fell into foul trouble and were unable to keep pace as NC outscored FP by 18 points during the middle quarters, including 15-2 in the third. Nocerini pointed to the loss of first-year starters Keall Emmers and Tommy Showers to early foul trouble as being a hindrance for his squad.

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