Forest Park boys basketball defying expectations with second consecutive regional appearance

Forest Park boys basketball defying expectations with second consecutive regional appearance
Published: Mar. 10, 2023 at 12:06 AM CST
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FERDINAND, Ind. (WFIE) - For the second straight year, the Forest Park boys basketball team is making a run for state, despite ending its regular season with a losing record.

The Rangers finished near the bottom of the Pocket Athletic Conference with a 3-9 record in conference play, but who doesn’t love a Cinderella story?

In the Class 2A sectional championship game, Forest Park edged out North Posey in a narrow 49-48 win last weekend after falling to the Vikings by 20 points during the regular season.

Forest Park head coach Drew Messmer says it’s all about getting hot at the right time and carrying on tradition.

“I think having the mindset that you will have success in the postseason is huge,” Messmer said. “We’ve won 12 of the last 20 sectionals and to me, that’s very important to have that confidence. We’ve had one goal this whole year, which was to win the sectional, despite however many wins, and that’s what happened.”

Juniors Reid Howard and Jace Berg have been the dynamic duo for the Rangers all season long. Howard leads the team with 15.3 points a game, while Berg follows with an average of 14 points per contest.

“We just seem to win a lot,” Berg said. “We got state back-to-back in girls and back-to-back sectionals in boys, I love it here.”

“Amazing how all the guys came together,” Howard said. “We had a rough year, but no matter how the year went, we just came together at the end and put it together.”

Forest Park will face Brownstown Central in the 2A regional championship, which Messmer says will not be an easy task.

“We’ll have our hands full,” Messmer said. “They got a lot of size, they rebound the basketball well, holding guys under 50 points a game, they’ve earned their record and their ranking. We have a game plan and we’re looking forward to playing at Southridge, which is a place we’ve had a lot of success, especially in the postseason. It’s home away from home for us.”

Saturday’s tip-off at Huntingburg Memorial Gym is set for 4 p.m. EST.