By BURT ANGELI
NORWAY - Iron Mountain and Norway usually play a low-scoring basketball game.
Theresa Proudfit/The Daily News Photo
Iron Mountain’s Jack Merrill (24) defends Norway’s Garrett Bonetti in Friday’s Mid-Peninsula Conference game. The defense-minded Mountaineers emerged with a 43-24 victory.
This one might have reached a new low.
Iron Mountain, feeding off a 10-0 start to the third quarter, checked Norway 43-24 in Mid-Peninsula Conference boys play.
"Overall, the kids played pretty good (man) defense," Mountaineers coach Bucky Johnson said. " The kids are starting to realize you win games by playing good defense.
"We've been able to play some zone. We've been able to play some man. It's nice to be able to play a little bit of both."
Norway experienced a four-minute drought in the first quarter and nearly seven point-free minutes in the third. The Knights trailed 32-14 entering the fourth.
"Iron Mountain's defense had something to do with it but they didn't make us miss wide open lay-ups," Norway Coach Ben Leiker said. "No matter who was out there we couldn't shoot.
"I thought they may play a little more zone because they've been doing that lately."
The Mountaineers chiseled out a 16-11 lead after the first half, with four points on steals and another four on putbacks.
"We had steals for some lay-ups, especially in the first half when our offense wasn't very good," Johnson said.
Zach Caudell collected six of his team-high 13 points in the Mountaineers' third-period run. Jack Merrill, who finished with 10 points, added the other four.
"Jack Merrill had a real good second half and Caudell was steady all night," Johnson said. "We had pretty good balance.
"The start of the game, the start of a second half is always key to a basketball game."
Jacob Thomann tallied eight points and 12 rebounds. Brock Grenier garnered four points, four steals and three assists. CJ Qualley produced six points and three assists.
"It was a good win," Johnson stated.
Norway's only third-quarter points came on a Jordan Mauro triple with 1:28 left. The Knights then went another four minutes without scoring.
"They're huge," Leiker said of the Mountaineers with the 6-5 Caudell and Thomann. "We don't match up with them physically at all.
"But they also outhustled us. I don't think we had any second chance points until the very end."
Stone Rossato scrapped for a pair of rebound buckets in the final minute for Norway. Austin Grayvold was the Knights' leading scorer with nine.
Iron Mountain turned back Norway 43-34 in a December test.
"We changed up our defense from what they did against us last time," Leiker said. "I thought we confused them for at least the first half."
Norway played a 3-2 zone, but had guard Garrett Bonetti chasing the Mountaineer point guard.
Iron Mountain (8-6, 5-4) travels to Kingsford Tuesday and hosts Westwood Wednesday. Norway (5-8, 2-6) entertains Ishpeming Monday and Westwood Thursday.
Iron Mountain's unbeaten jayvees spilled Norway 61-29. Carson Wonders, 17 points; Ryan Michaud, 12, and Tanner Huotari, paced the Mountaineers. Bryce Kelly topped the Knights with 12.
Norway's freshmen defeated Iron Mountain 52-45. Brad Casanova, 15; Kevin Evosevich, 12, and Josh Dapoz, 10, sparked the Knights. Gavin Wright, 20, and Riley Caudell, 13, led the Mountaineers.
Iron Mountain 7 9 16 11 - 43
Norway 4 7 3 10 - 24
IRON MOUNTAIN: Qualley 6, Merrill 10, Kramer 2, Grenier 4, Caudell 13, Thomann 8. FT: 4-6. F: 7.
NORWAY: A. Grayvold 9, Rossato 4, Pearman 4, B. Grayvold 4, Mauro 3. FT: 0-0. F: 9.
3-point FG: A. Grayvold, Mauro, Qualley. FG shooting: IM 19-39, Norway 11 made. Rebounding: Iron Mountain 31 (Thomann 12, Merrill 5, Caudell 4), Norway 30.