Girls Basketball: Knights ‘not ready to go’ in win over IM

Norway's Jada Lasater, right, dribbles the ball against Iron Mountain's Saylor Swartout in a Mid-Peninsula Conference game on Wednesday in Norway. (Adam Niemi/The Daily News)

NORWAY — It wasn’t pretty, but Norway came together for a 54-27 Mid-Peninsula Conference win against Iron Mountain on Wednesday.

The Knights (17-0, 10-0 MPC) were sloppy, coach Carli Kelly said. With playoffs around the corner, it wasn’t a performance worthy of praise.

“I can say that they were not ready to play tonight, at all. From the moment of tip-off, they were not ready to go,” Kelly said. “That’s not what we need finishing the season for sure. I’ve been telling them all along they need to be prepared every game and the target’s only getting bigger on their back and they need to be ready to go. We were not ready to go tonight. I’m a little upset.”

Nevertheless, the Knights opened up a wide lead in the first half on a combination of long- and mid-range shooting. Jada Lasater hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter. Kelly Madigan hit a 3-pointer in the first and second quarters. Jordan Kraemer knocked down a triple in the second quarter.

Norway held a 27-15 halftime lead and went on a run in the third quarter to widen the gap. The Knights out-scored Iron Mountain 18-8 in the third quarter for a 45-23 lead.

Mountaineers coach Ginger Moore said the team’s inexperience led to bad shot selection throughout the game.

“If you really look at why we can’t score — we get a lot of shots off, but we take low-percentage shots,” Moore said. “We launch 10 seconds into a possession. A lot of it is just understanding the flow of a game, the strategy. A lot of it though is I think the lack of experience. We take a lot of bad shots. We don’t make free throws and we can’t convert layups. We hold onto the ball way too long.”

Kelly said the defense was imperfect but got the job done.

“We had a lot more mental breakdowns than we should have,” she said. “I thought they were sleepy out there, but they did what they had to do to win. It still could have been better, a lot better.”

Moore also pointed out that the 10 or so missed layups, if made as expected, would have meant a closer game throughout. Iron Mountain also made just 9 of 22 free throws.

Saylor Swartout led the Mountaineers with 13 points.

Despite the poor shooting, Moore said she liked her team’s energy on the floor.

“I really was happy with our hustle and how hard we were playing, and our execution,” Moore said. “We stumbled a few times on the press break in the first half. But for the most part I thought that we did a good job on the press and we attacked.”

Kraemer came out of the game in the second quarter after a player collided with her right knee. She jogged back to the bench shortly before halftime and was back in the game to start the second half. With a big lead late, she fouled out midway through the fourth quarter.

Norway hosts Gwinn today. Kraemer will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony as the leading scorer in Norway girls basketball history.

Iron Mountain hosts Kingsford on Friday.

Iron Mountain JV won 51-24.

Iron Mountain 10 5 8 4 — 27

Norway 17 10 18 9 — 54

IRON MOUNTAIN: Swartout 13, Thomann 6, Poupore 3, Schilling 3, Hoffman 2. FT: 9-22. F: 17.

NORWAY: Kraemer 13, Lasater 11, Fuson 10, Clifford 8, Madigan 6, VanHolla 4, Fuson 1, Grayvold 1. FT: 12-17. F: 21 (Kraemer fouled out).