Girls basketball: Kingsford holds off IM, 58-54

Kingsford's Maddy Holmes, left, shoots as Iron Mountain's Hanna Ellis defends on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, in Iron Mountain, Mich. (Adam Niemi/Iron Mountain Daily News)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Kingsford held off Iron Mountain’s spirited effort in a 58-54 non-conference in Friday.

The Mountaineers (5-12) lost senior Riley Poupore to a knee injury halfway through the first quarter. Poupore did not return and head coach Katelynn Grenier said Poupore will have an MRI during the weekend. They fell to a 12-point deficit in the second quarter but made it a four-point game early in the third.

“Right when she went down she looked up at me and said ‘Coach it’s my knee.’ What do you say? I feel terrible for her,” Grenier said. “The girls feel terrible for her at halftime. I said right now you have to play for her and they did. We could’ve rolled over and died but we didn’t. We fought back. We hustled and that’s all you can ask for from this group.”

Iron Mountain made a fourth quarter push, but Kingsford matched offensive output to maintain a four- to six-point cushion for the win.

Kingsford (9-6) was led by Kriegl’s 18 points. Maggie Strehlow added 15 points.

Emma Thomann led Iron Mountain with 13 points. Lundholm had 12 points and Saylor Swartout had 11.

The rivalry game was predominantly composed of blue-collar, physical play.

“That was a hard fought battle by both teams,” Kingsford head coach Lisa Harry said. “I think they both really played their hearts out. What a great game.

“You gotta make shots and big players gotta come through for you,” Harry added. “Brooke (Kriegl) came through with a couple 3s and a couple free throws at the end. Katelynn had some players that hit some big time shots. Emma Thomann did a great job on the boards and really taking it to us in the paint. We had to battle for everything. Every loose ball was a battle. We struggled at times scoring again but we hung in there and made enough defensive stops and made enough free throws to pull out the win.”

Iron Mountain featured more aggressive defense without Poupore and Kingsford was also more aggressive with passing inside and Kriegl driving to the basket. Three Mountaineers fouled out, including Reagan Lundholm, Faith Bal and Jorden Stoner.

“The other girls had no choice but to score because if they didn’t, they would lose,” Grenier said of Poupore’s absence. “Saylor stepped it up and made some nice passes and finishing layups. Emma Thomann, I saw the look that she wanted the ball. When she got it she went up. Reagan Lundholm played a great game, Jorden Stoner, they all did.”

With Poupore, Iron Mountain’s 1,000-point scorer, out of the game, the defensive assignments became more straightforward for Kingsford.

“We stuck in the man to man,” Harry said. “Of course when Riley’s not in, then you’re not so much worried about having to help out as much. You can really D straight up on everyone else. Our focus really switched to Emma down low because I figured they would start pounding it in down low.”

The foul trouble further strained Iron Mountain’s depth throughout the night after losing Poupore. Kingsford was 22 of 34 from the free-throw line. Iron Mountain was 7 of 18 from the line. Kingsford racked up 18 fouls to the Mountaineers’ 24.

“I thought that at some points we weren’t getting things called that they were,” Grenier said. “It went the other way too sometimes. We had three girls foul out and they had two girls with three fouls. That’s kind of interesting.”

Kingsford JV won 46-43.

Kingsford visits Gladstone on Tuesday.

Kingsford 12 20 11 15 — 58

Iron Mountain 9 15 11 19 — 54

KINGSFORD (58): Kriegl 18, Strehlow 15, Doolittle 8, Cook 6, Allen 3, Olkkonen 2, Johnson 2, Holmes 2, Kowalkowski 2. FT: 22-34. F: 18. 3PT: Kriegl 2.

IRON MOUNTAIN (54): Thomann 13, Lundholm 12, Swartout 11, Stoner 8, Bal 5, Poupore 3, Ellis 2. FT: 7-18. F: 24 (Bal, Lundholm and Stoner fouled out). 3PT: Lundholm 3, Stoner 2, Poupore 1, Bal 1.