Forest Park, Norway ladies looking to win regional titles

IRON MOUNTAIN – Forest Park and Norway are gunning for girls basketball regional championships this week.

The unbeaten Lady Trojans (22-0), ranked No. 1 in Class D state polls, face Dollar Bay (17-5) at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the regional opener at Kingsford. The second regional semifinal Tuesday pits Stephenson (19-2) and Superior Central (19-2).

Forest Park dispatched Watersmeet and tourney host Wakefield-Marenisco to win the district. But the Lady Trojans want much more.

“We’re looking for bigger things than this,” Sam Nylund told WIKB Radio after the district final.

All-state Lexi Gussert leads Forest Park with game averages of 29 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals.

“This group has been pretty special,” said Forest Park Coach Jeff Syrjanen, citing the team’s work ethic.”

Dollar Bay earned its first district championship since 1979 by outlasting Chassell 43-34.

“To the girls, it’s a once in a lifetime thing,” Bays coach Steve Krahling said.

Senior guard Julia Daavettila, a 1,000-point career scorer, finished with 11 points and was named district tournament MVP.

Stephenson Coach Mark Simon is concerned with Superior Central’s quickness.

“But our philosophy is always to do what we do,” he said.

Regional final takes place Thursday, with the champion going to Negaunee or Sault Ste. Marie for the quarterfinal.

The opposing Class D regional at Pellston pits Brimley against Engadine and Posen against Pellston.

In the Class C regional at Escanaba, Coach Carli Kelly’s Knights (9-12) and L’Anse clash at 5 p.m. (Central time). The second semifinal sends St. Ignace (20-2) against Ishpeming (16-6).

“We’ve never been there before, so we’re going to be energized,” L’Anse Coach Scott Lloyd said. “This is an all-new experience for us. These girls are pumped.”

Norway is making its first regional appearance since 2008. Jordan Kraemer, Brenda Casanova and Rachel Conery collected 36 of the Knights’ 49 points in the district final win over Iron Mountain.

Regional finals will be held Thursday, with the winner to the quarterfinal at Gaylord. Charlevoix meets McBain and Beaverton challenges Lincoln Alcona in the regional semis at Sanford Meridian.