IRON MOUNTAIN - The senior-fueled Norway Knights, playing tonight in the Class C Region 24 boys basketball tournament, will likely hear the same pre-game talk heard at the districts.
"My biggest thing was we can't leave with any regrets," Norway Coach Ben Leiker said after his Knights (7-13) upset West Iron County in the district final. "We're senior dominated. If you don't leave it out there, you're going to be second-guessing yourself for the rest of your life."
All-Mid-Peninsula Conference second-teamer John Grayvold led the Knights' seniors against the Wykons. Randy Mueller, Dan Bal, Isaac Bray and Mike Zygiel also made their presence felt.
Norway defeated West Iron County to win the district title and advance to the regional tournament tonight in Escanaba. The Knights, kneeling, from left: Nick Bal, Mike Zygiel, Randy Mueller, John Grayvold, Isaac Bray and Dan Bal. Back row: Nick Wicker, Riley Johnson, Peter Fontana, Austin Grayvold, Grant Merrill and Nick Pearman.
The North Central Jets topped North Dickinson to earn a regional berth. The Jets’ postseason roster consists of Ryan Whitens, Tyler Polfus, Andrew Estrada, Devin Wodrazka, Rob Granquist, Josh Granquist, Travis Vincent, Caleb Martin, Trevor Ekberg, Zach Ryan and Eric Prestay. North Central is coached by Adam Mericer.
Forest Park got by Ewen Trout-Creek in its district final Friday night. The Trojans, led by Chris Nocerini, show a roster of Austin Snell, LJ Burns, Mitch Bal, Hank Sterio, Zach Painter, Jeff Johnson, Raymond Tomasik, Lee Graff, Cameron Davis, Chris Hilberg, Derek Aberly, Austin Carlson, Jeff Willman.
Norway and Houghton (14-7) will clash at 6:30 p.m. (Central time) tonight at Escanaba in the second Class C regional semifinal. Negaunee (21-1) and Harbor Springs (11-11) will meet in the opener.
The Knights knocked off the West PAC co-champion Wykons in the districts and now they aim for the other title half in Houghton.
Injuries assisted the Gremlins, with star players Adam Mackey (foot) of Ironwood and 6-foot-6 Alex Almquist (concussion) of Hancock missing tournament games.
Ryan LaBerge's 22 points lifted the Gremlins past Ironwood 56-48 in the district final. LaBerge's 18 points paced Houghton past Hancock, 68-31, in the district semi.
In tonight's Class D regional at Negaunee, North Central (20-3) battles Superior Central (16-7) at 5 p.m. (Central time) and Forest Park (14-8) challenges Chassell (11-9) at 6:30.
Coach Chris Nocerini's Trojans utilized defense pressure to gain a 13-point lead in the first half.
"They really attacked us," said ETC Coach Brad Besonen, figuring the Trojans for at least 10 points off of turnovers.
Regional finals are slated for Wednesday at Escanaba and Negaunee.