Late free throws lift Norway over North Central
NORWAY — The Norway boys were just 10-of-22 from the free throw line prior to the last two minutes of Friday night’s basketball game.
They hit 7-of-8 from the charity stripe when it counted most, however, in a 45-36 triumph over the North Central Jets.
The Knights were clinging to a 38-36 lead when senior Logan Parolini stepped up to the line and hit a pair of gifters for a four-point cushion.
Parolini was 6-of-6 and junior Nolan Amundson split of pair of free throws at crunch time in this intense and physical Skyline Central Conference match-up.
The Knights (3-2 overall, 3-1 SCC) also committed just five turnovers while the Jets finished with 15.
“I thought we took good care of the ball,” said Norway coach Jeff Gallino. “Five turnovers is exceptional for us. North Central has some good athletes. Fortunately, we were able to close it out with free throws.”
North Central (1-3 overall, 1-2 league) led 30-25 after sophomore Dylan Plunger split a pair of free throws with 47 seconds left in the third quarter.
Freshman Alex Ortman then brought the Knights within 30-27 with a pair of gifters with 35 seconds remaining in the third and senior Zach Seat tied the contest on a jump shot from top of the key with three seconds left in the period.
The Knights scored the first four points of the fourth frame before Jets junior Bradey Anderson sank a jumper from top of the key to trim Norway’s lead to 34-33.
Parolini added a pair of layups to put Knights up 38-33, setting the stage for a successful conclusion.
“It was a battle,” said Jets’ coach Mike Malone. “It always is in this building. My guys took a lot of strides tonight. We played fantastic positional defense. In my book this is a win. This is our best game so far for sure. A few weeks ago we were still playing football. If we continue to progress like this, we’re going to go into the (Division 4) district playing good basketball.”
Sophomore Luke Gorzinski hit a fast break layup with 6:30 left in the third stanza, then added a putback at 3:38 to give the Jets a 27-20 cushion.
The Jets led by as much as 29-21 following a fast break layup by senior Ian Gorzinski before the Knights began to whittle away at the deficit.
“Luke is a handful, but when we went man I thought Jeff VanHolla did a nice job on him,” said Gallino. “He (Gorzinski) is a good player. I thought Alex Ortman also provided a nice spark for us when we needed it. It was a hard-fought game.”
Parolini led Norway with 20 points and VanHolla had nine. Luke Gorzinski, who played with four fouls in the fourth quarter, paced the Jets with 16. Anderson added 11.
Norway, which also won the jayvee contest 49-40, travels to Superior Central Monday. North Central visits Munising Tuesday.
North Central 20 3 7 6 — 36
Norway 14 6 10 15 — 45
North Central — Anderson 11, I. Gorzinski 4, Riley 2, L. Gorzinski 16, Eichmeier 2, Plunger 1. FT: 23; Fouled out: Riley; 3-point field goals: Anderson 3, L. Gorzinski.
Norway — Amundson 2, Seat 5, Bray 5, VanHolla 9, Parolini 20, Ortman 4. FT: 17-30; F: 11; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goals: Amundson, Seat, VanHolla.