Boys basketball: Kingsford routs Norway, 77-53

Kingsford's Tyler Kopp, left, takes a shot as Norway's Trey Doda, right, defends on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, in Norway, Mich. (Adam Niemi/Iron Mountain Daily News)

NORWAY — While most teams can’t buy a basket, it was as though Kingsford couldn’t buy a miss.

The Flivvers shot 62 percent in a 77-53 non-conference win over Norway on Monday.

The Knights (4-8) fell to a 20-7 deficit five minutes into the game and never recovered.

Kingsford head coach Dan Olkkonen said he was pleased with his team’s 31-of-50 shooting performance, including 9 of 14 from long range.

“When you come out in the first quarter and you’re able to knock down some shots, quite a few shots, that makes the game a lot easier,” he said. “Nate Rutter really set the tone by hitting those two shots. He’s been a bit of a slump lately and to come out and have four 3s tonight was a big thing.”

Tyler Beauchamp’s 20 points paced Kingsford (6-6). Andrew Mann and Nate Rutter had 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Rutter hit a pair of 3s in the first to help Kingsford dart to a 27-12 lead after the first quarter. The Flivvers shot 70 percent in the first half and rolled to a 51-17 halftime lead.

Norway didn’t have the shooting night Kingsford did. Misses and turnovers spurred Kingsford throughout the night.

“When you dig yourselves a hole and we had trouble scoring the ball, it’s tough to dig yourself out of that hole,” Norway head coach Jeff Gallino said. “I thought our effort in the second half was better. I thought they got to more loose balls than we did. That kind of bothered me. I didn’t think our effort was there in the first half, considering they were making their shots. I thought our effort was better in the second half at least.”

Kody Hendricks led Norway with 14 points. Logan Parolini, in his fourth varsity game, notched 13 points. Jeff VanHolla and Mitchell LeGrave added seven points each.

“He’s been up for a couple games and he’s done a real nice job of penetrating, getting to the basket,” Gallino said of Parolini. “That’s something he’s been able to do for us. He’s been shooting the ball pretty good too.”

Mann took a pass entering the paint on a fast break in the second quarter and pulled up under the basket, pivoting to fake a shot while handing the ball off to Terrian, who made an easy open layup. It gave the Flivvers a 41-13 lead, but it was more about what the play meant.

“When he made that pass to Terrian on that fast break with the fake and hand-off, I told those guys at halftime that’s what we’re looking for,” Olkkonen said. “You’re always looking to build on what’s next and how you can be better. We haven’t gelled a lot this year, with 12 games. This was the first time they got to gel quite a bit. It’s special. The score is regardless sometimes, up or down. We’re always trying to play to get better and I thought we did a good job.”

Norway doesn’t have to worry about taking road trips for a while. The Knights, including Monday’s game, have six straight home games through Feb. 15. Norway went 45 days without a home game in the first half of the season, with five straight road games.

“It’s nice,” Gallino said. “The kids practice here every day. It’s nice knowing we can just stay here and work on things and get better.”

With the season entering a grind stretch for Kingsford, Olkkonen said it was nice to cruise throughout the game, rotating minutes and getting different players work.

“We start with Esky coming on Friday, that’s going to be a grind itself,” he said. “End of January into February, you get that week or two grind in there. It’s a lot of struggle through things but once you get to that second week of February, the next two weeks, three weeks is about getting yourself prepared for districts.

“We could play Esky Friday, we could possibly play Marquette Monday, we could play West Iron Thursday and we play Gladstone Thursday. We could possibly have four games in seven days and that’s OK. These kids are young, they’re healthy. They can go out there. Getting in that competitive mode every night instead of practicing is good for them.”

Kingsford JV won 56-33.

Norway hosts Stephenson on Friday, while Kingsford hosts Escanaba.

Kingsford 27 24 18 8 — 77

Norway 12 5 19 17 — 53

KINGSFORD (77): Beauchamp 20, Mann 13, Rutter 12, Terrian 11, Kopp 11, Normand 4, Galeazzi 4, Batti 2. FT: 6-8. F: 10. 3PT: Rutter 4, Beauchamp 3, Terrian 1, Mann 1.

NORWAY (53): Hendricks 14, Parolini 13, VanHolla 7, LeGrave 7, Doda 3, Lasater 3, Benjamin 2, Ray 2, Paulitch 2. FT: 5-10. F: 7. 3PT: Doda 1, Hendricks 1, Parolini 1, Lasater 1.