No layoff letdown


Sports Writer

KINGSFORD – Kingsford, idle for 17 days, feared the long lay-off would result in bad basketball.

Not so.

The Flivvers, sparked by Caleb Harrington’s 22 points and 10 rebounds, spilled Forest Park 56-36 in non-conference boys basketball.

“We competed pretty good for having three and a half weeks off,” said Flivver coach Dan Olkkonen, using Monday’s national football championship as an example. “You get that much time you feel like Notre Dame and then you get Alabama.

“We were ready for a game.”

Kingsford closed out the first half on a 9-0 run for a 27-15 bulge. The Flivvers kept things going in the third quarter with a 12-2 blitz in the first four minutes.

“They beat us in all phases,” said Trojans coach Chris Nocerini, who declined further comment.

Forest Park entered on a three-game winning streak after beating Watersmeet on Thursday. Kingsford was able to scrimmage North Central over the holidays.

“That was an eye opener for us on how we had to step up and compete better,” Olkkonen said. “We had great weeks of practice coming into this game.”

Olkkonen, a White Pine High School standout, doesn’t take any team lightly regardless of class.

“I’m from a Class D school and it doesn’t matter,” Olkkonen said. “We have to be able to compete and make it habit forming.”

Flivvers’ Aidan Wienke chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds. Cole Michaud had eight points and five rebounds.

“We challenged them defensively real well and limited their shots,” Olkkonen said, “We did some really good stuff at times with our inside and high-low passes.”

Austin Snell’s 11 points topped the Trojans, who trailed 4-0 after four minutes.

“It’s all about learning experience as you go along,” Olkkonen said. “We’re just trying to grow as we go.

“They played their zone well. It just took us time to find the cracks and seams.”

Kingsford (4-2) visits Great Northern Conference foe Gladstone on Friday. Forest Park (3-3) entertains Skyline Conference opponent Bark River-Harris on Monday.

In the junior varsity game, Forest Park outlasted Kingsford 64-58 in double overtime. Adam Hilberg, 15 points; Connor Kezerle, 14; Brett Smithson, 12, and Billy Ragio, 10, paced the Trojans. Daniel Harrington laced 20 points and Joe Hofer had 11 for the Flivvers.

Forest Park 6 9 8 13 – 36

Kingsford 11 16 20 9 – 56

FOREST PARK: Snell 11, Bal 2, Johnson 5, Tomasik 2, Hilberg 4, Aberly 6, Carlson 2, Willman 4. FT: 5-7. F: 14.

KINGSFORD: Jennings 2, Harrington 22, Swanson 4, Tengesdahl 1, Allen 7, Wienke 12, Michaud 8. FT: 14-19. F: 7.

3-point FG: Harrington, Allen, Snell. FG shooting: Forest Park 15-57, Kingsford 20-50. Rebounding: Forest Park 34 (Johnson 6, Tomasik 6), Kingsford 42 (Harrington 10, Wienke 8).