Girls basketball: Trojans fall to Broncos, 53-41

Forest Park's Maddie Scarlassara (14) attempts to dribble around Bark River-Harris' Hailee Demers on Friday in Harris. (Mike Mattson /The Daily Press)

HARRIS — Pressure defense and varsity experience paid off for the Bark River-Harris girls’ basketball team Friday night.

The Broncos forced some early turnovers and relied on their veterans to defeat visiting Forest Park 53-41 in Skyline Central Conference action.

BR-H (1-1) also used a balanced attack, with Hailee Demers scoring 12 points and Sierra Debelak supplying 12 points to lead nine Broncos in the scoring column.

Taylor Hankala led the Trojans with 11 points, while Hannah Cross — the team’s lone returning starter — added 10 points.

Both teams were seeking their first victories after Forest Park (0-2) fell to North Central and the Broncos lost at Ishpeming Tuesday night.

The Broncos’ full-court pressure defense led to eight Trojans’ turnovers in the first quarter. BR-H built an 18-3 and settled for a 18-8 advantage entering the second quarter.

“We took a big quick jump early,” BR-H coach Josh Eagle said. “The girls got some confidence and we needed that. I would like to see better ball movement, but it’s the beginning of the season. We had an idea they were going to pack it in and make us shoot from the outside. They did a good job slowing it down, but we tried to speed it up and at the beginning it worked very well.”

Forest Park finished with 21 turnovers and shot 29 percent from the floor. The Broncos converted 29 percent from the field.

Forest Park didn’t quit after its early deficit as it relied on three 3-pointers to put together a 12-0 run to pull back within 18-15. But the Broncos kept the upper hand and led 27-21 at halftime.

Forest Park coach Jackie Giuliani was pleased her team overcame a slow start, but a cold-shooting night hurt her inexperienced squad.

“When you start with an 18-3 deficit that’s a tough thing,” Giuliani said. “But I was proud of how our girls fought back. They didn’t hang their heads and got right back in that game. The effort was relentless.

“We just needed a few more shots to fall. We needed less turnovers. We had 21 turnovers and 16 of their points were off of our turnovers. That’s the game right there. We just need to take care of the ball. And we need to take care of our free-throw shooting.”

Both teams struggled from the charity stripe, with BR-H making 1-of-8 and Forest Park connecting on 6-of-16.

The Broncos went on a key 8-2 run to build a 39-26 lead after three quarters.

BR-H’s biggest lead in the fourth quarter was 18 points with 2:48 remaining.

“I think Bark River has some girls with more experience than our team,” Giuliani said. “You could see that in the first quarter. They came out with more confidence and our girls were a little bit on their heels,

“We just need to play 32 minutes and not let the first three minutes get to us.”

Bark River-Harris also won the JV game 42-31.

Foreset Park hosts Carney-Nadeau on Tuesday.

Forest Park 8 13 5 15 — 41

BR-Harris 18 9 12 14 — 53

FOREST PARK (41) — Ferrara 4, Emmers 2, Scarlassara 8, Honkala 11, Nocerini 2, Aberly 4, Cross 10. FT 6-16. F: 12. 3PT: Ferrara 1, Honkala 1, Cross 1.

BARK RIVER-Harris (53) — J. Lockwood 2, Debelak 12, M. Lockwood 2, Demers 13, LaFave 5, Robinette 5, Bloniarz 6, Peterson 6, Jorasz 2. FT: 1-8. F: 20. 3PT: LaFave 1, Robinette 1.