Boys basketball: Johnson, IM beat Westwood

Iron Mountain's Marcus Johnson drives to the basket against Westwood on Thursday in Iron Mountain. Johnson scored 34 points in the Mountaineers' 60-44 win. (Adam Niemi/The Daily News)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Marcus Johnson’s 34 points paced Iron Mountain in a 60-44 Mid-Peninsula Conference win over Westwood on Thursday.

Johnson carved Westwood by penetrating through the lane and baselines for close shots, much of the time with defense draped all over him. The Mountaineers (11-0, 6-0 MPC) were helped by Foster Wonders’ 16 points.

It wasn’t just the offense that was better than in the Mountaineers’ 40-38 overtime win on Jan. 4. The defense limited David Delarye’s offensive output from that game when he scored 20 points. Until the third quarter, he had just a single bucket.

“We played better this time than we played last time we played them. We got the tempo of the game in our favor. I think we started off pretty well. We got three free throws, a steal and a layup to start the game off. That was key because if you get ahead of a team that likes to control the tempo, that changes their patterns.”

Camron Mason and Nathan Beckman led Westwood with eight points apiece.

The Mountaineers shot 17 of 35 on the night and Charlie Gerhard grabbed seven of the team’s 21 rebounds.

Gerhard, who had two points, was assigned to defend Delarye both games. The difference was the Mountaineers brought help defense to collapse around Delarye when he got the ball.

“Charlie didn’t have the greatest game offensively but last time we played them, he was on Delarye and Delarye had a monster game. Today, not so much,” Johnson said. “If you noticed, Delarye had four points in the fourth quarter, he had two points up to that point. I thought Charlie did a real nice job defensively.”

Westwood fell in the hole early when Iron Mountain scored a few quick buckets off a steal and Johnson was fouled on a 3-pointer. The Patriots hung within five points for a while before Iron Mountain’s penetration wore down the defense and fouls added up. Iron Mountain led 47-33 after three quarters.

The Mountaineers were able to use the Patriots’ physicality against them. Westwood committed 29 fouls on the night and two players (Ethan Burke and Jacob Adriano) fouled out. Iron Mountain was in the double-bonus by early in the second quarter and later in the third quarter.

Wonders, who played in his third game after sitting the first seven, finished with 16 points that came from all over the floor. The freshman, already with an offer from Northern Michigan University, knocked down two triples and scored under the basket out to mid-range. His shot at the end of the first half bounced at least three times and rolled on the rim before falling in to give Iron Mountain a 10-point halftime lead.

“Tonight he hit a couple 3s, shot six free throws. He can go inside, he can go outside. You saw some of those shots in the first quarter. A jump hook from the lane, a jump hook from the baseline on the move. The kid’s got some moves offensively without a doubt,” Johnson said. “(The buzzer-beater) was good touch. That means he has the right rotation on his shot. One time he was coming down the floor and Marcus was on the right and boom — he fired a pass, hit Marcus right in the shooting pocket — bang, Marcus hit a 3. They complement each other very well.”

Iron Mountain plays at Negaunee in a rescheduled game from Jan. 22.

Westwood JV won 45-43 in overtime.

Westwood 9 13 11 11 – 44

Iron Mountain 17 15 15 13 — 60

WESTWOOD (44): Mason 8, Beckman 8, Adriano 6, Delarye 6, Burke 4, Niemi 4, Hewitt 3, Rodda 3, Anderson 2. FT: 10-14. F: 29 (Burke and Adriano fouled out). 3PT: Mason 1, Beckman 1, Hewitt 1, Rodda 1. Rebounds: 12.

IRON MOUNTAIN (60): Johnson 32, Wonders 16, Vicenzi 6, Kulas 3, Feira 2, Gerhard 1. FT: 23-33. F: 17. FG: 17-35. 3PT: 3-12 (Wonders 2, Johnson 1). Rebounds: 21 (Gerhard 7).

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