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Nimrods' season ended by Forest Park


Jason Juno/Daily Globe

Watersmeet's Frannie Zelinski has the ball tipped by Crystal Falls Forest Park's Kelsi Hendrickson during Wednesday's Class D District 127 semifinal at Nimrod Nation at Watersmeet.

WATERSMEET - Watersmeet and freshman Bethany Baldwin started with a 9-2 lead and an upset in mind.

But Crystal Falls Forest Park didn't panic. The Trojans never do.

Forest Park had the lead by the end of the first quarter and went on to win 64-35 in Wednesday's MHSAA Class D District 127 semifinal at Nimrod Nation.

Forest Park plays Wakefield-Marenisco (19-3) Friday in the district final at 6 p.m. in Watersmeet.

Baldwin scored all 11 of Watersmeet's first-quarter points as the Nimrods forced the Trojans, ranked fourth in the final U.P. Class D poll, to call timeout and reorganize.

"We caused them to realize, 'Hey, we're in a game and even though this team has read our press clippings, they're not going to lay down for us,'" Watersmeet coach Norm Ellenberger said. "In order for us to maintain that, we would have had to play at that level for a lot longer than just a quarter or two. Rather than adjust to what's happening to us, we attempted to stay at the same fast-slam-bang pace and that's impossible."

Forest Park took a 16-11 lead by the end of the first quarter and, in all, went on a 21-2 run that turned the 9-2 deficit into a 23-11 second-quarter lead.

The Trojans heated up from behind the arc, hitting six first-half 3-pointers, including four by Abby Nylund, who led Forest Park with 28 points.

"I knew they were going to have some runs; they are a good team and they have a couple of really good players," Forest Park coach Jackie Giuliani said. "We made some mistakes in the beginning of the game, some turnovers that I didn't think were typical of us. When they went on that little run, I called timeout, I brought our girls back together and I said, 'OK, that happened, now let's move forward, let's just play our game.' And I thought they responded really well to that."

Forest Park's halftime lead was 32-21.

"The spectacle and magnitude of playing a game this important to us was emotionally, it was a little more than we could handle and we didn't respond accordingly emotionally to it," Ellenberger said. "That being said, the game is 32 minutes long and my kids gave it every ounce of their effort for each one of those minutes. We were playing against a team that you have to play a certain way and that is to execute the game. They were every bit as good as everyone thinks they are."

Baldwin led Watersmeet with 21 points. Seniors Frannie Zelinski and Jessica Barajas finished with seven and five points, respectively.

Freshman Rebecca Caron grabbed 10 rebounds for Watersmeet (10-10).

"For a freshman, that was an awesome step for her to take," Ellenberger said.

Sierra Robarge had 10 points for Forest Park.

Forest Park (18-4) plays W-M (19-3) for the championship Friday.

"I don't know if they've seen pressure defensively that we put on, so I'm hoping that maybe they create some turnovers with that," Giuliani said. "I know we have more experience than them. They're still pretty young. I'm hoping that will also be a benefit to us, but I know it will be a good game because they've been playing well all season and they're young and they've been working hard at basketball, you can tell from their skills."

Forest Park - Abby Nylund 28, Sierra Robarge 10, Maria Stankewicz 7, Rachel Roose 3, Libby Shamion 3, Amber Lovato 3, Kelsi Hendrickson 3, Susie Toivonen 3, Hannah Cross 2, Becky Showers 2. FTs: 10-17. Fouls: 11. 3-pointers: Nylund 4, Robarge 1, Stankewicz 1, Lovato 1, Hendrickson 1.

Watersmeet - Bethany Baldwin 21, Frannie Zelinski 7, Jessica Barajas 5, Sierra Griffin 2. FTs: 8-15. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: Baldwin 2, Barajas 1.

Forest Park 16 32 46 64

Watersmeet 11 21 30 35


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