Boys basketball: Iron Mountain routs Emeralds, 71-29

Iron Mountain's Marcus Johnson (14) shoots against Manistique on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in Iron Mountain, Mich. (Adam Niemi/Iron Mountain Daily News)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Iron Mountain got off to a fast start to the season with a 71-29 Mid-Peninsula Conference win against Manistique on Tuesday.

The Mountaineers (1-0) piled 19 points in the first quarter and followed with 24 in the second quarter for a 43-17 halftime lead.

Iron Mountain opened the game with a 9-2 run and never looked back.

“I thought it was a good first win,” Iron Mountain head coach Bucky Johnson said. “The kids really played hard and competed hard. Everybody got in and got to play, got contributions from everybody who got in the game.”

Marcus Johnson led the Mountaineers with a game-high 27 points. Jaden Vicenzi had 13 point. Charlie Gerhard added nine points with seven steals. Johnson also had seven assists and four steals.

The Mountaineers had 28 rebounds and 12 assists.

“These kids share the ball and look for the open man and pretty much play unselfish basketball,” Coach Johnson said. “It’s easy to stop one guy but it’s hard to stop five. I thought Marcus had 26 points but we had some nice passes to open people at the right time. There are some things defensively we have to work on.”

The Iron Mountain offense fell into mid-season form with hard passes around the perimeter, into the paint and across the court. With six players 6-foot-2 or taller, the Mountaineers made their presence known in the paint all night. Gerhard had four blocks.

Schyler Anderson led the Emeralds (0-1) with nine points.

Iron Mountain’s pesky defense stifled the young Emeralds. They scored just three points, a bucket and a free throw, in the third quarter.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy one. We knew they’d pressure us especially on their court,” Manistique head coach Ed Marietti said. “We did decent in the first half. Second half, we got away from it a little bit and they got some easy buckets. Offensively, we didn’t make good passes, we didn’t run crisp patterns and we didn’t keep our spacing.”

The Emeralds feature a young roster with three sophomores, a junior and five seniors.

“We’re young. We got three sophomores up and next game I might be starting them,” Marietti said. “Three returners aren’t experienced, they didn’t play much last year as juniors. We basically got just learning how to play varsity basketball. I like their attitude. They’re willing to work, but nine guys, it’s tough to work with that. We’ll find different ways of doing that. It’ll be a learning year.”

Iron Mountain plays at Gwinn on Friday.

Manistique 9 8 3 9 — 29

Iron Mountain 19 24 19 9 — 71

MANISTIQUE (29): Anderson 9, Hoholik 7, Seeley 4, Block 2, Lauzon 2, Hagenson 2, Smith 2. FT: 7-8. F: 13.

IRON MOUNTAIN (71): Johnson 27, Vicenzi 13, Gerhard 9, Tucker 6, Celello 6, Feira 3, Caudell 3, Birazza 2, Kulas 2. FT: 10-17. FG: 17-32. 3PT: 9-21 (Johnson 3, Vicenzi 3, Celello 3). F: 8. Rebounds: 28 (Gerhard 7). Assists: 12 (Johnson 7). Steals: 16 (Johnson 4, Vicenzi 4).