By TOM KAESER
For The Daily News
STEPHENSON - Stephenson's zone caused early problems for Norway but turnovers were a bigger problem for the Eagles' offense.
Tom Kaeser/The EagleHerald Photo
Norway’s Austin Grayvold drives to the basket Thursday.
The Knights pounced on Stephenson's ballhandling woes in a 61-40 win Thursday night.
The Eagles turned the ball over 27 times. Most of the turnovers came after getting through the Knights' zone press.
"You're not going win many games when you turn the ball over that many times," Stephenson coach Joe Simon said.
Eleven turnovers in the first 10 minutes helped fuel a 17-0 Knights' run.
Nick Bal popped in a 3-pointer after an Eagle turnover and Nick Pearman cashed in two free throws after another Stephenson turnover to pump the Knights (5-6) to a 19-4 lead with 5:15 left in the half.
"Stephenson's not a very experienced team and we took advantage of their inexperience at the guard position," coach Ben Leiker said. "We couldn't get the shots we needed against their zone, but we picked up the pressure and were able to get better shots."
Levi Brock's 3-pointer snapped an almost eight-minute scoring drought for the Eagles and he bombed in another triple moments later to slice the margin to 19-12.
Norway countered with a laser from the arc by Austin Grayvold, Grayvold dished a pass to Bal in the corner for another triple and Pearman sank two FTs to pad the lead to 31-16.
The Eagles (1-10) trimmed the margin to 33-23 early in the third quarter on Brock's 3-pointer and Brandon Kau's inside hoop, but Norway lashed back with a 14-2 run. After forcing a turnover, Pearman whipped a pass to Bal for a transition basket and a 47-25 Norway lead.
Grayvold drew in the Eagles' zone with a hard drive to the lane before zipping a pass to Pearman, who padded the lead to 50-27 with 54 seconds left in the third quarter.
Bal earned game scoring honors with 23 points, Pearman had 17 and Grayvold added 11.
Connor Cappaert led the Eagles with 11 points.
Pearman scored 14 of his points in the third quarter.
"We didn't have an answer for Pearman in the third quarter," said Simon.
Norway hosts Kingsford Monday and travels to Gwinn Tuesday.
Norway won the junior varsity game, 64-55.
Norway 12 19 21 9 - 61
Stephenson 4 14 9 13 - 40
NORWAY (61) - A. Grayvold 11, Bal 23, Bonetti 3, Pearman 17, B. Grayvold 2.
STEPHENSON (40) - Cappaert 11, Brock 9, Newlin 8, Wehner 2, Starzynski 2, Kau 7.