Mountaineers overpower Flivvers
Wonders scores 26, Johnson adds 20 as Iron Mountain reaches 15-0
KINGSFORD — The second installment of this season’s twin city boys basketball rivalry had a similar outcome as the first.
Led by junior Foster Wonders with a double-double of 26 points and 10 rebounds, and senior Marcus Johnson with 20 points, the experienced and undefeated Mountaineers overwhelmed the young Flivvers 80-35 Tuesday night in non-conference action.
Iron Mountain (15-0) had a commanding lead after the first quarter and never looked back. Using a three-quarter court press and trapping the ball, the Mountaineers rattled Kingsford and caused several turnovers all while the Flivvers were struggling offensively.
At one point in the quarter, the Mountaineers led 11-1 and then held an 18-3 lead. The fast tempo with shots off of transition or quick ball movement to develop an early shot is often the Mountaineers’ style of play, which worked well throughout the first half.
“We got off to a tremendous start tonight, you don’t want a team in their own gym to get a head of steam and let the crowd get behind them,” said Mountaineer head coach Harvey “Bucky” Johnson. “I am proud of how ready to play the team was tonight, which I feel was a big key to the game.”
The Mountaineers were also crashing the boards, especially on the defensive end. Iron Mountain had more defensive rebounds than Kingsford had in combined rebounds for the whole game, which coach Johnson felt was a key to the Mountaineers’ win.
The dominance on the glass also prevented the young Flivvers from getting many second-chance shots, which added to their offensive struggles.
“Tonight was fun. The game was fast, and both teams played hard,” said Flivvers head coach Dan Olkkonen. “The talent level Iron Mountain has is incredible, with those two shooters. Plus, everyone else works so hard getting them open, rebounding and working hard.”
Olkkonen noted that the Mountaineers shooting so well from long range took the wind out of his team’s sails. He also mentioned the fact that his team was struggling to score really made it frustrating that Iron Mountain was shooting so well.
“We talked about tonight with the kids in the days leading up to the game, that we need to get ourselves into district tournament mode,” said Olkkonen. “Playing a team like Iron Mountain will only help us get better in the long run. The large crowd and the atmosphere was like a tournament game tonight.”
Both teams know one another well, and it was noticeable that there were small conversations going on during the game, more so than in most games. Fun seemed to be had by all the young men involved in the game.
“Our kids played hard, Kingsford played hard as well. It’s always fun coming over here to this gym. A lot of people in the crowd, and we carried ourselves very business like, and now we move on to the next game,” said coach Johnson.
Mountaineer senior Tony Feira snared a game-high 13 rebounds, with Jake Dumias adding nine points and six rebounds.
Kingsford was led in scoring by Cole Bracket with eight points, with Brody Kopp and Nick Nora each scoring six points.
The Mountaineers, who return home for the remainder of the regular season, welcome West PAC Conference opponent Hancock to the Mountaineer Gymnasium on Friday night. There will be no JV contest Friday night vs. Hancock.
Kingsford fell to 4-12 and remains home to host non-conference foe Houghton on Thursday night.
In the JV contest, Kingsford’s Nathan Bousley led all scorers with 24 points, with 18 coming from 3-point land, as the Flivvers cruised past Iron Mountain 67-33. Danny Webber added 13 points, while Trestan Larson tacked on 10 points for Kingsford. Gabe Richtig led Iron Mountain with 10 points.
The Kingsford freshmen hosted the Wausaukee Rangers JV team, defeating The Rangers 62-40. Cole Myllyla led all scorers with 18 points, with Isaac Nash chipping in 10 points in the win.
At halftime of the varsity game, members of the Kingsford band performed on the court. The percussion and the tuba players pleased the crowd. The lights in the gym were shut off, and some of the drums and tubas were strung with colored led lights that are used for the Flivver marching band’s annual laser light show in the fall. It wasn’t a flashy performance, yet it wasn’t simple by any means. But it was very good.
IM 23 20 12 25 — 80
Kingsford 9 8 9 9 — 35
IRON MOUNTAIN: Wonders 26, Brown 2, G. Basanese 4, Johnson 20, Visintainer 2, Joey Dumais 1, Bellamy 2, D. Basanese 1, Evosevich-Hynes 7, Feira 6, Jake Dumais 9. FT: 11-15. F: 12. 3-point FG: Johnson (4), Evosevich-Hynes, Wonders (4). Rebounds 46 (Feira 13, Wonders 10).
KINGSFORD: Meneguzzo 2, Nora 6, Boone 2, Kopp 6, Bracket 8, Carollo 4, Paupore 3, Lavarnway 4. FT: 4-10. F: 15. 3-point FG: Paupore. Rebounds: 30.