Norway’s Kraemer doesn’t miss in leading Bay
ESCANABA — Perfection.
That’s probably the only way to describe Jordan Kraemer’s performance against Bryant & Stratton College.
Kraemer finished a combined 21-of-21 from the field and free throw line for a season-high 31 points to lead the Bay Norse past the Bobcats 76-58 here Saturday. It was the first time a player went an entire game without missing a shot for the Norse in their young basketball history, as the Norway High School grad was 10-10 from the field and 11-11 from the charity stripe.
The most impressive part about the performance was she scored that many in just 24 minutes, as she landed awkwardly on her left leg after making a layup with 7:57 left in the second quarter, and was forced to miss the rest of the first half. She came back in the second half and picked up right where she left off.
“I just relaxed and tried to focus,” Kraemer said. “This game had a different feel to it because this team broke our winning streak (in January). We came out with energy and a fire lit.”
The Norse (18-6) led 27-19 when Kraemer went down. The Bobcats took advantage briefly, going on a 10-5 run to pull within three at the 3:05 mark of the second quarter.
But JuliAnn Wickman (Felch) came to the rescue, pouring in eight points within a 35-second span to push the Norse lead to 43-29 with 34 ticks left, and they led 43-32 at the half.
“JuliAnn has probably been our most consistent player for us the last five games,” Norse coach Rob Robinson said. “She is getting some confidence and is fun to watch. She was sick to start the year but she has really come on for us lately.”
The Norse’s ability to hold off the Bobcats (16-10) while Kraemer was out was the difference in the game.
“When I got hurt, I was trying to peek through the door of the training room to see what was going on,” Kraemer said. “I’m super proud of my teammates. Even if the trainer had told me I wouldn’t be able to play in the second half I still had full confidence we were going to win. Jordan Belleville made some passes today that I have no idea how they got there. I’m so happy. This is a complete team win.”
The Norse pulled away in the second half, as the Bobcats never came within more than eight points. A layup by Ja’Taviah Conley brought them within 47-39 with 6:08 left in the third quarter, but the Norse responded with a 12-1 run.
“It’s a great feeling,” Kraemer said. “It gives us a big confidence boost. There’s a chance we could see this team in the tournament because we’re in the same division so I feel like we sent a message. We made a statement today.”
Robinson cited he also thought revenge played a big role, as the Bobcats beat the Norse 62-56 Jan. 9 to stop Bay’s nine-game winning streak. The Bobcats are the only team to beat the Norse since Nov. 30.
“Jordan had an incredible game,” Robinson said. “When she shoots well, we’re going to win. She’s an incredible player. I just wish I could have her for two more years, but that’s what it’s like in junior college.”
“We didn’t finish around the rim,” Bobcats’ coach Jeff Lorenz said. “We didn’t get a call here or there, but we knew we weren’t going to get any calls.
Wickman chipped in with 13 points for the Norse.