RAPID RIVER - The No 5-ranked Forest Park Trojans figured out Rapid River's zone early and came up big in the clutch to secure a 57-41 Skyline Conference victory Friday night.
Rapid River's 1-3-1 zone which was effective in the first few minutes, gave way to a Trojans scoring surge and Forest Park secured a 18-3 first quarter lead.
Multiple shots for Rapid River circled the rim and out.
Keith Shelton |?Daily Press
Rapid River’s Jake Pearson power past Trojans defender Lee Graff on his way to the basket, during the first half, Friday night at Rapid River.
"We struggled in the first quarter," said Rockets head coach Rich Poma. "We got a lot of nice looks, moved the ball well. We just couldn't get it to drop."
The Rockets offense started to click in the second quarter, but the consistent Trojans still carried a 36-16 advantage into the half.
They turned it around to start the third.
Forest Park 18 18 6 15 - 57
Rapid River 3 13 16 9 - 41
Forest Park - Snell 7, Nocerini 19, Johnson 2, Tomasik 5, Graff 14, Krajewski 7, Carlson 3; FT: 12-19; F: 14; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goals: Krajewski.
Rapid River - Pearson 12, Hardwick 7, Evans 6, Bero 5, Deneau 8, Hough 3; FT: 7-16; F: 14; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goals: Pearson 2, Deneau, Hough.
Zach Evans scored five consecutive points on a layup and a three-pointer, kick starting a 11-0 Rockets run which cut the Trojans lead to 38-27.
"I'm mostly impressed with the third quarter," said Poma. "Being down 20 at the half and the way things were going, they could have given up pretty easily. I told them to work at it and cut it in half, and they did.
"I'm happy with Zach. He played his best game of the year by far. He was very confident. Last time we played Crystal, he struggled, but tonight he handled the pressure very well. It should be a big confidence booster for him."
Jake Pearson led the Rockets with 12 points.
Forest Park, which controlled the fourth quarter, was led by Daniel Nocerini's 19 points.
Despite the loss, Poma was generally pleased with the way his team played.
"This was a big step for us against a very good team," he said. "Hopefully this will get us in the right direction heading toward districts."
Forest Park (12-1, 9-1 Skyline) also won the junior varsity game 55-23.
Rapid River (5-9, 2-8 Skyline) resumes Tuesday at Munising.