By RON DEUTER
NORWAY - Senior Austin Grayvold scored 11 of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter and overtime as Norway held off Kingsford 64-59 in what turned out to be a thrilling non-conference boys basketball season opener here Tuesday night.
Theresa Proudfit/The Daily News Photo
Norway’s Austin Grayvold looks to drive in against Kingsford’s Noah Voss during the first half of Tuesday’s non-conference boys basketball game.
"Austin is always going to give you 100 percent," Norway coach Ben Leiker said. "He's real a tough guy to guard going to the hoop because he's fast and very strong. Without him, we have no chance."
With both teams rather green at the varsity level, Grayvold's take-charge effort down the stretch proved to be the difference. Grayvold's point total included an 8-of-9 showing at the foul line, the two biggest coming in the final seconds of overtime to make it a two-possession game after Kingsford's Jack Glodowski sank a short jumper to bring the Flivvers with three at 62-59.
"He went to the hole and attacked a younger group and made them make decisions," Flivvers coach Dan Olkkonen said of Grayvold. "He went to the line, made free throws. We have a young team in terms of varsity playing time. The process these guys have to go through and understand is how we're going to develop as a team.
"That's the one thing Norway really had in Austin, that leadership."
A drive for two by Grayvold early in the extra session put the Knights ahead 56-55, and Norway never trailed again. Glodowski hit a shot to make 58-57 Norway, but Grayvold answered with another drive. A couple of free throws by Stone Rossato made it 62-57 ahead of Glodowski's final bucket.
Kingsford was led by Dan Harrington's 20 points, but he missed the overtime frame after fouling out late in the fourth.
The Knights had a chance to seal it in regulation, up by four with under a minute to play, but some hit and miss free throw shooting and an ill-advised decision to take a shot rather than hold the ball and get fouled, kept the door open for Kingsford.
A frantic final 17 seconds saw Lucas Jennings drain a triple from up top before Noah Voss drove in and buried a short jumper to tie it with one second left.
Jennings finished with nine points, while Voss had 10. Glodowski also scored 10.
The game featured 20 lead changes, 10 of those coming in the final quarter and overtime. Norway was able to separate a bit at the end thanks in part to its defense forcing Kingsford into several turnovers. Play was sloppy throughout, with the teams combining nearly evenly for 53 turnovers, but Kingsford's miscues really piled up near the end.
"The turnovers were to be expected," Leiker said. "There were not a whole lot of kids out there who we saw last year. I think in the end, we were just able to make a couple less and make a couple of plays. Other than that it was a really close game."
Norway had nine players make its scoresheet. Nick Pearman scored four of his eight in the fourth quarter, including a big bucket down low with a free throw that put the Knights ahead 51-49 with 1:15 left.
Judd Gregg scored eight points, and Bryce Grayvold tallied seven. Both hit key second-half triples for Norway.
Gregg's first triple of the game sent Norway into halftime with a three-point lead on the Flivvers. the Knights scored the first six after the break for the biggest lead of the game by either team at 26-17.
But Kingsford responded with a n 8-0 run to quickly close the gap. Harrington, showing some slick moves to the hoop, put in six of those points during the push.
"Some things just didn't go our way down the stretch in terms of turnovers," Olkkonen said. "It was sloppy a lot of the game. At the end, both teams competed hard.
"We've got some athletic kids, they just haven't all played together before. Overall, there were a lot of positive things, and I'm proud of my guys for the way they stuck with it."
Kingsford took the freshmen (53-46) and jayvee (47-31) contests.
Both teams pick it up Friday. The Flivvers (0-1) host Escanaba, while Norway (1-0) welcomes Manistique.
Kingsford9 8 21 16 5 - 59
Norway7 13 17 17 10 - 64
KINGSFORD: Jennings 9, Voss 10, Tengesdahl 4, Harrington 20, Glodowski 10, Stanchina 4, Hofer 2. FT: 16-28. F: 20. FO: Harrington.
NORWAY: A. Grayvold 22, Bonetti 3, Bal 5, Pearman 8, B. Grayvold 7, Rossato 6, Schultz 3, Gregg 8, Pickart 2. FT: 17-28. F: 23.
FG shooting - K: 20-51 (3-pt: 3-16); N: 21-47 (3-pt: 5-10). 3-pt FGs - K: Jenning (2), Voss; N: Gregg (2), Schultz, Bonetti, B. Grayvold. Rebounding - K: 35 (Harrington 7); N: 31 (Rossato 6).