Boys basketball: Norway holds off Nordics, 51-44

North Dickinson's Joseph Roell (32) and Matthew Bruette (20) defend Norway's Kody Hendricks (20) on Friday in Norway. (Burt Angeli/The Daily News)

NORWAY — Norway blanked North Dickinson for the final four minutes and defeated the Nordics 51-44 in Skyline Central Conference boys basketball Friday.

The Nordics (8-8, 5-3) held a 44-40 lead in the fourth quarter when the Knights (6-9, 4-3) got going behind Kody Hendricks.

Hendricks, a 6-foot-4 junior, scored a game-high 18 points including 12 from the free throw line.

“Things opened up from the outside and we were able to hit a few shots which opened up the inside for Kody,” said Norway coach Jeff Gallino. “He was able to get to the line.”

A traditional three-point play from Hendricks put Norway on top 46-44 with 2:52 remaining. The Knights then took the air out the ball and made five free throws — four from Jeff VanHolla and one from Trey Doda — to close out the game.

“They got the ball well inside to Hendricks,” said ND coach Chris Mattson. “He shot 17 free throws and made most of them. He was the best player on the floor tonight for both teams. They did what they had to do. They got the lead at the end of the game and made their free throws.”

Finishing games hasn’t been a Norway strong suit until recently.

“The last two we’ve been able to protect the ball and go to the free throw line and make free throws,” said Gallino, referring to Tuesday’s win over Carney-Nadeau.

Norway converted 11 of 13 fourth-quarter free throws.

The Nordics hustled for a 22-16 halftime lead and owned a 41-32 edge with 8:16 left in the fourth quarter.

“I felt good after our second quarter,” Mattson said. “Our defense was engaged and communicating well.

“Norway came out in the second half the fresher team. They had more energy than we did.”

Doda, VanHolla and Logan Parolini each added eight points for the Knights.

“I’m real proud of the kids’ effort in the second half,” Gallino said.

Junior Cameron Schultz canned four triples and paced the Nordics with 12 points. Matthew Bruette had 11 points. Joseph Roell added nine points with 13 rebounds.

The Nordics, playing their third game of the week including a triple overtime test Wednesday with North Central, committed 21 turnovers.

“I’m very proud of the effort again from my kids,” Mattson said. “We’ve had a crazy week and this was our third game. I was a little concerned that our energy level would be low. Norway deserved to win. They played a little better than we did.”

Norway hosts Forest Park Tuesday, while North Dickinson hosts North Central.

Norway’s junior varsity, with former Knights girls coach Carli Kelly taking over for Jon Belaire for the evening, downed North Dickinson 54-27. Nolan Amundson led the Knights with 10 points while four others combined for 29. Maximus Mattson had 14 for the Nordics.

North Dickinson 11 11 10 12 — 44

Norway 10 6 14 21 — 51

NORTH DICKINSON (44): Ackerman 8, Schultz 12, Bruette 11, Donaldson 2, Roell 9, Steinbrecher 2. FT: 2-3. F: 18. 3PT: Ackerman 1, Schultz 4, Roell 1.

NORWAY (51): Doda 8, Paulitch 3, VanHolla 8. LeGrave 4, Hendricks 18, Parolini 8, Lasater 2. FT: 20-27. Fouls: 10. 3PT: Doda 1, Parolini 2.