By RON DEUTER
IRON MOUNTAIN - It's safe to say hot shooting was not the cause of the fire alarm that went off in the Izzo-Mariucci Center during the second quarter of Friday night's Mid-Peninsula boys basketball game between Iron Mountain and Norway.
Theresa Peterson/The Daily News Photo
Iron Mountain’s Gerry Pirkola (14) and Norway’s John Grayvold, Jr. battle for a rebound during Friday evening’s Mid-Peninsula basketball game.
But the unexpected delay did seem to ignite the Mountaineers, who used a late second-quarter push to establish a lead they never lost in claiming a 43-28 victory.
"I thought that spurt right before the half was the key to the game," Mountaineers coach Bucky Johnson said. "It was tight, close. Norway was playing good defense. I thought we were playing good defense.
"Norway was in our face. They were on us. It was hard to get a clean look, but I thought some guys made some plays right there before the half."
In a game in which both teams combined for eight points through the first 10 and a half minutes, Iron Mountain closed the first half on a 9-2 run to break what was an 11-11 stalemate.
Luke Zambon and Taylor Huotari each scored 19 points to lead Iron Mountain. Zambon was the catalyst in the first half, while Huotari put in 16 after halftime.
"In the second half, Huotari really came alive for us," Johnson said.
Iron Mountain was able to keep Norway at bay late with solid free throw shooting, hitting 10-of-13 in the final minutes of the fourth.
"We've been improving in that department, so that was good to see," Johnson said. "It was just a hard-fought game. Norway came ready to play and played hard. Defense was the name of the game out there, both ways."
John Grayvold, Jr. led Norway with 10 points, but the Knights could never really find a rhythm on the offensive end.
A three ball by Randy Mueller with 3:23 to play brought the Knights within eight at 33-25. But the Mountaineers expanded their advantage at the line from there, collecting their final 10 points of the game at the stripe.
"We really worked hard in practice in preparing for Iron Mountain," Knights coach Ben Leiker said. "Defensively, I couldn't ask the kids to do any more than they did. We really played well, did a really nice job of stopping them.
"Unfortunately, they were able to stop us as well and, we just couldn't shoot the basketball."
The Knights shot under 24 percent for the game.
"The kids I had out there to play defense unfortunately weren't the kids that were able to score."
Burnt popcorn in the concession stand caused the alarm at the 5:41 mark of the second quarter with the score just 4-4. The delay lasted only a minute or two.
Iron Mountain (11-4, 8-2) hosts Kingsford Tuesday. Norway (4-8, 2-6) plays at West Iron County Monday.
Iron Mountain won the jayvee game 42-30. Iron Mountain freshmen, despite 19 points from Tanner Huotari, fell 40-28 to North Dickinson's jayvees in a game played in Felch.
Norway 4 7 5 12 - 28
Iron Mountain 2 16 11 14 - 43
NORWAY: J. Grayvold, Jr. 10, A. Grayvold 7, Bal 4. Pearman 4, Mueller 3. FT: 6-8. F: 16.
IRON MOUNTAIN: Zambon 19, Huotari 19, Frorenza 2, Caudell 2, Brooks 1. FT: 12-16. F: 7.
FG shooting - N: 10-42; IM: 14-40. 3-pt FGs - N: Mueller, Grayvold, Jr.; IM: Huotari (2), Zambon. Rebounding - N: 22 (Grayvold, Jr. 10); IM: 31 (Zambon 10).