Boys Basketball: Fast start powers Iron Mountain past Kingsford

Iron Mountain's Carson Wonders, center, drives to the basket as Kingsford's Owen Petschar, left, and Chase Kreski, right, defend on Tuesday in Iron Mountain. Wonders scored 37 points in the Mountaineers' 73-51 non-conference win. (Adam Niemi/The Daily News)

IRON MOUNTAIN — A hot start helped Iron Mountain sink crosstown rival Kingsford 73-51 on Tuesday.

The Mountaineers’ win in the rivalry’s 209th matchup was helped by 24 points each in the first and second quarters. Iron Mountain leads Kingsford all-time, 143-66.

Kingsford (1-14, 0-8 Great Northern Conference) couldn’t do enough to stop Carson Wonders. Wonders led Iron Mountain (15-2, 7-2 Mid-Peninsula Conference) with 37 points. He knocked down eight 3-pointers and also collected seven rebounds and four assists. Wonders shot 8 of 10 from long range.

Wonders’ success was indicative of Iron Mountain’s team performance. The Mountaineers collected 17 assists on 26 field goals.

“We got off to a great start. It continued for most of the first half, got a little sloppy towards the end of the first half, let up a little bit,” Iron Mountain coach Bucky Johnson said.

“For the most part, the start of the game was critical. Running the ball, hitting shots, playing good defense, rebounding — that was a big key to the game. Obviously Carson, 37 points, we also had 17 assists on 26 baskets, so anytime more than half your baskets have assists, that’s a good thing. Rebounding, Charlie (Gerhard) was all over the boards,” Johnson said.

Gerhard collected a team-high nine rebounds.

Tyler Beauchamp was held to two points at halftime but finished with Kingsford’s team-high of 11 points. Chase Kreski chipped in nine points.

“They got a little bit in our head and early on we forced way too many shots early,” Kingsford coach Dan Olkkonen said. “We took the right shots for us and kind of went out of our gameplan, but you know what, that happens. The atmosphere, it’s emotional, kids are thinking about other things more than the crosstown rivals and going out there and playing basketball. It’s intense, it’s physical. I appreciate the effort of both teams. Wonders just went off. He was able to find an open spot and make every single three that he took.”

Iron Mountain’s rally to start the game kept the crowd quiet. The Mountaineers’ lead hovered around 30 points in the second and third quarters. Kingsford wasn’t innovative enough offensively to stake a comeback, Olkkonen said.

“I don’t think we executed very well early. We had a couple sets later that we did, but then we got robotic and you can’t do that against this team,” Olkkonen said.

“Defensively, this is the best I’ve seen Iron Mountain play defense all year. I thought they did against Norway too. The last couple games they’re stepping up on the defensive side. That’s a struggle — they’re long and athletic and they play hard. They made it difficult on Tyler.”

While student sections can impact the teams and emotion of the game, Johnson said Iron Mountain’s start dictated the pace of the game.

“I think it can have an impact but the kids were ready to go. They had a couple good days of practice,” he said. “They watched film, prepared themselves and I think they realized how important starts of games are, starts of halves are. They were ready and it showed tonight.”

The Flivvers, stubborn to give up, piled 19 points in the fourth quarter. Olkkonen said he was proud of the effort.

“Our whole thing is we can’t quit on anything. We try to take every player, every quarter as an experience of what we’re going to see in the future,” Olkkonen said. “We talked about it after the game. Obviously we’re upset about the loss, but we’re preparing to go to Houghton on Thursday and that’s the team we play in the first round of the districts. It’s not like we’re going to sit back and whine about it or cry about it. We’ve got work to do.”

Iron Mountain JV won 51-47 in overtime.

Kingsford plays at Houghton on Thursday. Iron Mountain hosts Ishpeming on Monday.

Kingsford 11 9 12 19 — 51

Iron Mountain 24 24 12 13 — 73

KINGSFORD: Beauchamp 11, Kreski 9, VanRemortel 8, Terrian 8, Petschar 4, Swanson 2, Cootware 1, Henes 1, Gayan 1. FT: 11-18. F: 11. 3PT: Beauchamp 1, Petschar 1. Rebounds: 31.

IRON MOUNTAIN: Wonders 37, Johnson 11, Vicenzi 6, Gerhard 6, Jacob Tucker 5,Caudell 3, Forstrom 3, Josh Tucker 2. FT: 10-14. F: 17. FG: 26-58. 3PT: 11-29 (Wonders 8, Johnson 1, Caudell 1, Forstrom 1). Rebounds: 32 (Gerhard 9). Assists: 17 (Johnson 7).