By BURT ANGELI
NORWAY - John Grayvold Jr., checked to eight points in the first half, responded with 15 over the final two quarters to lead Norway past North Dickinson 57-48 in non-conference boys basketball Thursday.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo
Norway’s John Grayvold Jr. (32) shoots over North Dickinson’s Matt Schultz (left) and Dominic Christian in Thursday’s non-conference basketball game.
Grayvold added 10 rebounds to his game-high 23 points, with eight in the final quarter to turn back a North Dickinson rally.
"John Grayvold Jr., by far, had his best game of the year," Norway Coach Ben Leiker said. "He's taking shots that he can make and was more aggressive. If we can get him going he's our best scorer."
"This is the hardest he's worked for shots and it paid off. It was a good learning game for him."
Grayvold also snared five offensive rebounds as the Knights owned a 29-23 edge in that department.
"John played an outstanding game and had a great rebounding game," North Dickinson Coach Chris Mattson said. "Offensively, he was like a pogo stick. He missed a shot he was right there to follow up."
Norway's Austin Grayvold chipped in 12 points - 11 in the first half. Isaac Bray had nine.
"We match up a little better with North Dickinson because we're about the same size," Leiker noted.
Norway couldn't put North Dickinson away until the game's final minutes. The Nordics trailed by nine early in the third quarter and closed to three with five minutes left.
In the fourth quarter, Norway moved ahead by 10 but North Dickinson came back to within 46-42 at 4:27 after triples from Derek Wagner and Matt Schultz, and two free throws from Logan O'Neil.
"They're fighters, good kids, scrappy kids," Leiker said. "They're going to give you their all."
Mattson warned his players before the game about falling into deep deficits.
"We're not the type of team that go on those runs for two minutes at a crack and put 10 points on the board," he said. "We're going to have to grind out games."
With 2:30 remaining in the fourth period, Norway claimed a 50-44 advantage. The Knights then reeled off six straight points - four from John Grayvold.
"Norway came out in the fourth quarter and got to every loose ball," Mattson said. "That's a scrappy group of kids. They deserved to win and played well."
Schultz paced the Nordics with 14 points while Ken Pekarek produced 11 and O'Neil had 10. The coach also saluted Tim Hruska for seven points off the bench.
"We were able to stay in front of O'Neil," said Leiker, crediting Dan Bal's defense. "That was a key because he's so quick.
"Normally he can break you down and Danny was able to stay in front."
Mattson was pleased with the effort and season-low 13 turnovers.
"The kids have been working hard and it is going to get better," Mattson said of his 0-3 Nordics. "We're struggling to score the basketball but that's something we'll get better by the end of the year.
"Defensively we played well again. We have to clean up some rebounding issues. We're smaller than we have been. Norway did a good job crashing the boards."
Norway (2-1) hosts rival Iron Mountain on Monday. North Dickinson (0-3) doesn't return to action until a Jan. 3 trip to West Iron County.
Norway outlasted North Dickinson 54-50 in the junior varsity contest. Bryce Grayvold's 17 points led the Knights. Reggie Johnson tallied 17 points and Noah Berg had 13 for the Nordics.
N. Dickinson 10 12 12 14 - 48
Norway 13 14 15 15 - 57
NORTH DICKINSON: Hruska 7, Pekarek 11, O'Neil 10, Wagner 4, Gustafson 2, Schultz 14. FT: 11-17. F: 15.
NORWAY: A. Grayvold 12, Mueller 6, Bal 4, Bray 9, Fontana 3, J. Grayvold Jr. 23. FT: 8-17. F: 16.
3-point FG: Bray, Pekarek, Wagner, Schultz 3. FGs: N 24-48, ND 16-45. Reb: Norway 29 (J. Grayvold 10), N Dickinson 23 (Schultz 7).