AURORA — A leader for the Mesabi East girls’ basketball team this past season, senior Kora Forsline made her presence known on the court as she led the Giants in points, rebounds, assists and numerous other categories.
Now, Forsline will get to take her game to the next level after signing on to play for Division II St. Cloud State University on Friday.
On her decision to commit to the Huskies, Forsline said there were a number of reasons, one of which was a family connection.
“The coaches mostly were the reason I wanted to go there. I just really connected well with them,” Forsline said Friday at Mesabi East High School. “My parents know them too. My mom played at St. Cloud State and the current head coach now was an assistant when she played so I knew the coaches were great from her.
“The players and the team chemistry felt really great too. It’s a lot closer to home than other schools I was looking at so all of that helped make the choice a bit easier.”
Giants head coach Chris Whiting spoke about his star player in front of Forsline’s family and friends and afterwards mentioned that she still has plenty of room to grow.
“I think she’s still got a great upside. I don’t think she’s peaked yet,” Whiting said. “She’s shown she’s a hard worker and I don’t see her stopping that any time soon. I think St. Cloud got a nice bargain with her.”
Known for her six-foot-one frame, Forsline wasn’t just limited to playing down low in the paint with Whiting acknowledging her all-court game. When it comes to playing at the Division II level, Forsline should be able to make a strong impression with her size.
“I think she’s got the speed to play at that level. She’s ‘skinny-strong’ as I like to say. I think she’ll be fine battling down low after having two or three girls on her throughout this season. She’s used to having bodies on her all the time and I think that’ll help her in the college game.”
Playing as many as four sports in one school year, Forsline has also excelled on the volleyball court and in track and field. When it comes to focusing entirely on her basketball game, Forsline says it’ll be an interesting adjustment.
“It’s definitely going to be different. I’m always doing multiple sports so it’ll be different focusing on just basketball but I’m excited to see how I can improve when all of my attention is on one thing.”
Forsline says the jump to the D-II level is a big one, but she’s ready to embrace the chance SCSU has provided for her.
“I know they lost a lot of seniors so there’s going to be a lot of opportunities for me there. I’m hoping to work hard in the summer to get ready for the season and see how things go.”
Those who know her best say there’s little chance Forsline doesn’t put in the work necessary to compete at a high level.
“She’s always exceeded the expectations,” Whiting said. “She’s been to every practice and every camp. She’s gone to the tournaments. She’s done our 10,000 shot program in the summer since the eighth grade. She never missed anything and when you get her, you know you’re getting a hard working kid.”
Forsline, who plans on studying business at St. Cloud, says she looks back fondly on her high school career, especially her senior season when she got to share the floor with sisters Olivia (sophomore) and Marta (eighth grade).
“It’s pretty awesome to look back on all of it. I love the team aspect of sports like basketball and volleyball. You really can’t get that in any other sport. You make great friends with your teammates. This year was great just because I got to play with both of my sisters and I know not a lot of people can get a chance like that.
“My entire family has been pretty awesome. I can go play with them on our little court at our house. It’s a good way to get better and keep things fun.”
A 1,000 point scorer and the Giants’ all-time leading rebounder, Forsline follows a great line of players who have graduated in recent years from Mesabi East, including Ava Hill (2020) and Hannah Hannuksela (2021). Forsline, most certainly, has earned her place with the best of the best.
“What those kids have done — Ava, Hannah and now Kora — is they’ve given an example to others,” Whiting said. “They’re proof of what you can do and the success you can find if you work hard and have fun playing the game.”
With a great support system beside her, Forsline looks forward to her next big challenge.
“My family and my coaches and my teammates have all been a huge help for me. Without their support to get me here, I wouldn’t have this chance to play at St. Cloud.”