Trojans handle Niagara, 69-34
By BURT ANGELI
NIAGARA, Wis. – Not much has changed in the Forest Park-Niagara boys basketball series.
The once-beaten Trojans, led by Lee Graff’s 20 points, dispatched the Badgers 69-34 in non-league play Thursday. When the two schools last met in 1970 the difference was 106-63.
“We didn’t know much about them other than what we were reading in the paper,” said Forest Park Coach Chris Nocerini, his Trojans idle since Friday. “I thought we would be prepared for we’ve been off for six days.
“But you never know what you’re going to get into and I didn’t want the kids overlooking tomorrow night.”
Fores Park (16-1 overall, 11-1 Skyline) travels to Carney-Nadeau tonight and wraps up the regular season with U.P. power North Central Tuesday.
“That’s a huge conference game (with Carney),” Nocerini said. “Tuesday, that’s even a bigger one. You couldn’t ask for a better way to end out season with those two teams.”
Austin Carlson chipped in 11 points and Austin Snell had eight with five assists for the Trojans, who built a 36-15 halftime lead. Daniel Nocerini grabbed 10 rebounds.
“Forest Park is really a good ball club,” Niagara Coach Jim Hoogland said. “They’re athletic, strong and big. I was really impressed by them.”
Forest Park forced Niagara into 28 turnovers.
“They make you pay for every mistake,” Hoogland said. “We turned the ball over too many times. We didn’t rebound very well.
“We don’t match their physicality. That’s been one of our issues all year. We’re just not physical enough. It’s an attitude and we just have not got to that point yet.”
All but one of the Trojans scored in the game.
“Tonight was a good win,” Nocerini said. “When you get all the kids in playing like that it’s a just a nice win.”
Zach Walker returned to the Niagara lineup and produced a team-high 11 points and nine rebounds. Badger seniors Walker, Joey Swanson (9 points), Jacob Oratch (7), Dyllan Pultz, Brett Pultz, Joe Coppens, Trevor Lantagne and Brandon Holcomb played their final home game.
“I wish we could have had a better result for our seniors,” Hoogland said.
Niagara (7-14) completes the regular season at Gillett Saturday.
Billy Ragio’s 31 points powered Forest Park’s junior varsity past Niagara.
Forest Park 21 15 19 14 – 69
Niagara 5 10 10 9 – 34
FP: Snell 8, Bal 4, Krajewski 2, Steiro 4, Nocerini 7, Johnson 5, Graff 20, Davis 2, Smithson 6, Carlson 11. FT: 5-10. F: 7.
N: Walker 11, Swanson 9, Moreau 2, Lantagne 2, Parent 2, Oratch 7, Holcomb 1. FT: 6-8. F: 8.
3-pt: Walker, Swanson, Johnson, Graff, Smithson 2. FGs: N 13-42, FP 30-76. Reb: N 27 (Walker 9), FP 47 (Nocerini 10).