CRYSTAL FALLS - Forest Park wrapped up the third quarter with an 18-6 blitz and spanked West Iron County 83-52 in non-conference boys basketball Thursday at Eddie Chambers Gymnasium.
The Trojans ended a string of nine straight losses to the Wykons.
"These kids have been reminded enough (about losing to WIC)," Trojans coach Chris Nocerini said. "Our kids came out ready to play and determined. I could tell in practice we were going to play well."
Theresa Peterson/The Daily News Photo
Forest Park’s CHRIS Hilberg is pressured by West Iron County’s Brock Hopkins (left) and Andy Ridolphi during Thursday night’s non-conference boys basketball game.
Forest Park pulled out to a 38-26 halftime advantage in the up-tempo game. West Iron, ranked fourth in the U.P. "Big School" poll, closed to 40-34 midway through the third quarter. The Trojans then rolled 18-6 for the rest of the stanza.
Forest Park's Derek Aberly scored a game-high 20 points with six rebounds; Austin Snell tallied 19 points, seven assists and three steals; Lee Graff added 17 points, five rebounds and four steals, and Jeff Johnson had 10 points.
"Derek was phenomenal, made great decisions and was on the glass," Nocerini said. "(Raymond) Tomasik controlled the boards (with 13) and kept (Tyler) Stafford off the glass."
The coach also cited Chris Hilberg for grabbing nine rebounds.
Graff was making his Forest Park athletic debut for 2012-13. The sophomore, who suffered a knee injury last March, missed the entire football season and seven basketball games.
Graff, cleared to play Wednesday, started the fourth quarter with nine straight points.
"He gave us a spark," Nocerini said. "I have confidence in him and his teammates were excited he was back.
Alex Ralston topped Coach Dan Schive's Wykons with 11 points and Austin Waara had 10.
West Iron shot 1 for 12 from three-point territory and made 18 turnovers (12 Forest Park steals). Forest Park shot 53 percent from the floor.
"They're a hard working bunch and they came together," Nocerini said. "The kids played their hearts out."
West Iron (6-3) travels to L'Anse tonight. Forest Park (5-3) visits North Dickinson on Tuesday.
Conner Kezerle, 16 points; Billy Ragio, 15, and Kameron Krajewski, 10, powered Forest Park past West Iron in the junior varsity game.
West Iron 11 15 14 12 - 52
Forest Park 20 18 20 25 - 83
FOREST PARK: Snell 19, Johnson 10, Tomasik 5, L. Graff 17, Hilberg 9 Aberly 20, Carlson 2. FT: 13-23. F: 17.
WEST IRON: Ralston 11, Pengrazi 1, Pisoni 3, Stafford 2, Adam Newby 9. Rogers 2, Waara 10, Aren Newby 4, Hopkins 8, Ridolphi 2. FT: 9-19. F: 19.
3-point FG: Johnson, Hilberg, Ralston. FG shooting: WIC 21-63, FP 34-68. Rebounding: FP 49 (Tomasik 13, Hilberg 9) WIC 34 (Stafford 9).