By RON DEUTER
KINGSFORD - Kingsford held a decided advantage in size against Norway and it led to a decided advantage on the scoreboard.
Theresa Peterson/The Daily News Photo
Kingsford’s Gabe Swanson moves the ball up the floor with Norway’s Peter Fontana defending during Tuesday’s non-conference boys basketball game.
The Flivvers, led by Caleb Harrington's 22 points, downed Norway 57-39 in the season opener for both teams Tuesday in non-conference boys basketball.
"The team from last year was definitely very different," Kingsford head coach Dan Olkkonen said. "We're still trying to figure out a lineup. We started out big. We're not the same team as far as how we play defense and how we approach it, but I still think we have some good skilled players.
"What I liked was we seemed to play together and come together. We knew we had size on them and we were able to get shots and second attempts."
Norway, led by John Grayvold Jr. with 13 points, hung with the Flivvers through most of the first quarter but a spurt near the end of the frame sent the Flivvers on their way.
Tyler Schaut had a putback to break a 9-9 tie. Gabe Swanson followed with a tip of a missed free throw, and then Harrington came up with one of his three steals for an easy layup as Kingsford closed the final minute of the first period with a 6-0 flurry to take the lead for good.
"I thought we fought pretty hard," Knights coach Ben Leiker said. "Even when we were down, the kids were diving on the floor. And that's one thing we are really stressing this year - the effort."
Mike Zygiel added 10 points for the Knights. He hit a couple of treys in the second half to help Norway hang around and sunk a jumper early in the fourth to make it a 43-32 game. But that's as close as the Knights would get.
"We made a lot of first game mistakes, and the game plan wasn't really great because I really didn't know who Kingsford was," Leiker said. "They're huge, not fast, but huge. Maybe we should have pressured them a little more, but we didn't know that going in."
The Flivvers, who also got 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds from Aidan Wienke, connected on 12-of-17 at the line, compared to just 1-of-3 for Norway. Harrington made all five of his freebies.
"He's proved he's pretty steady from there," Olkkonen said of Harrington. "He's going to be a staple for us. You know he is going to show up to the gym and give it everything he has every game."
Cole Michaud added nine points and 11 boards for the Flivvers, who held a 46-27 edge on the glass.
"I was pleased with the way we competed," Olkkonen said. If we can set a lineup, set a tone on how we are going to play, you know, we're going to be a team that learns as the year goes on."
Kingsford (1-0) opens Great Northern Friday at Escanaba. Norway (0-1) enters Mid-Peninsula action at Manistique.
Kingsford's jayvees posted a 67-45 victory.
Norway 9 11 7 12 - 39
Kingsford 15 18 10 14 - 57
NORWAY: Grayvold Jr. 13, Zygiel 10, Bray 5, N. Bal 3, A. Grayvold 2, Fontana 2, Pearman 2, Mueller 2. FT: 1-3. F: 14.
KINGSFORD: Harrington 22, Wienke 12, Michaud 9, Swanson 4, Baldwin 3, Allen 3, Schaut 2, Jennings 2. FT: 12-17. F: 10.
FGs - N: 16-54 (3-pt: 6-25); K: 21-51 (3-pt: 3-10). 3-pt FGs - N: Zygiel (2), Grayvold, Jr. (2), Bray, N. Bal; K: Harrington (2), Allen. Reb - N: 27 (A. Grayvold 8); K: 46 (Wienke 12, Michaud 11).