Girls basketball: Niagara rallies, edges Norway 32-29

Norway's Haley Clifford moves to the basket on Niagara's Allison Wells in Monday's game. (Burt Angeli/The Daily News)

NORWAY — Niagara scored eight straight points in the final minutes Tuesday and held off Norway 32-29 in the first girls basketball meeting between both schools.

Ki’Ercidy Hannah scored back-to-back baskets to put Niagara (12-3) on top 28-26. Jasmine Racine converted two free throws with less than two minutes left and sophomore Jessica Oratch added a field for a 32-26 advantage.

Norway (4-8) challenged in the final seconds as Jaclyn Bal hit a three-point field goal in the waning seconds.

“It was a very good game,” said Niagara head coach Karl Lamoreaux. “Norway played extremely hard and provided enough pressure to bother us.”

Norway went scoreless in the first quarter and more than a minute into the second when Haley Clifford broke the ice.

“We knew this game would be a defensive battle,” said Norway head coach Joe Tinti. “We hit some timely shots but we also went through a drought like the first quarter. We just had a hard time hitting some shots.”

Hannah led the Badgers with 11 points. Racine added 10 points with four straight second-half free throws.

“We didn’t get the into the post as much as we should have,” said Lamoreaux, crediting Norway for part of the offensive problems. “We got little better looks in the second half.”

Freshman Mackenzie Clifford scored a team-high 11 points for Norway. Bal added eight points with two triples.

“Joe set up a real nice in-bound play for Bal on the last one,” Lamoreaux noted.

Niagara carried a 22-19 lead into the fourth quarter,

Both teams had over 20 turnovers for the game.

“It was an entertaining ball game,” said Tinti, a former Niagara coach. “They’re a nice club. They’re a young club.

“We’ve had our struggles this year but this was the first time all season that every one of us could go home, look in the mirror and say ‘I tried my hardest tonight.’

“We never quit when things got tough.”

Tinti said the series with Niagara will continue to next season. Lamoreaux welcomes the game after making some lengthy conference bus rides,

“This road trip to Norway is wonderful,” Lamoreaux said. “If we can maintain this it can turn into a nice rivalry and be competitive.”

The Badgers host Lena in a make-up game on Monday and Oneida Nation on Tuesday. The Knights head to West Iron County on Thursday.

Cailin Hagerty’s 13 points helped the Niagara junior varsity edge Norway 29-26. Olivia Stanchina had 10 points for Norway.

Norway 0 13 6 10 — 29

Niagara 4 7 11 10 — 32

NORWAY (29): Bal 8, H. Clifford 4, Stanchina 2, Fuson 1, Gyselinck 3, M. Clifford 11. FT: 5-7. F: 18. 3PT: Bal 2, Gyselinck 1, M. Clifford 1.

NIAGARA (32): Oratch 5, Racine 10, Ivey 3, Gill 3, K’Eircidy Hannah 11. FT: 6-15. F: 8. 3PT: Ivey 1, Gill 1.