Iron Mountain slips past Norway, 46-44

Runsat’s late jumper seals win in Division 3 district opener

(Theresa Proudfit photo) IRON MOUNTAIN’S ELLISON Powell brings the ball up court while defended by Norway’s Hannah Burklund during Monday evening’s MHSAA district basketball game.

IRON MOUNTAIN — Anslee Runsat drained two of her game-high 16 points on a jump shot in the lane with 17.3 seconds remaining, as Iron Mountain eked past rival Norway 46-44 in a Division 3 MHSAA girls district basketball game Monday night at Mountaineer Gymnasium.

After a timeout by head coach Karen Ellis, the Mountaineers ran a play in from half-court offense, making good passes and setting great screens to get Runsat open. Once she got the ball she took a couple dribbles into the lane, pulled up and drained a floater to put the host Mountaineers ahead by a pair. There were 15 seconds remaining by the time Norway inbounded the basketball.

“That’s the way I drew up the play, and the girls ran it like we needed them to,” said Ellis. “We wanted to get Anslee the ball and she worked it in for a good shot.”

The Lady Knights’ leading scorer, Andi Carlson, who netted her 11 points off the bench, got open in the lane on Norway’s ensuing possession. She missed a jump shot, but was fouled. The foul was whistled prior to the shot, so Carlson had a 1-and-1 opportunity. She missed the front end..

Mountaineers sophomore Ellison Powell rebounded the basketball and Ellis called a timeout, so the Mountaineers would be able to inbound the ball at half court. They did, to seal the two-point win.

Both teams mainly played man-to-man defense throughout the game, with the Mountaineers pushing the tempo on offense in the early going. Iron Mountain was attacking the basket and drawing fouls — and making their free throws, shooting 83% for the game to the Knights’ 48%.

“We played hard tonight, and we did some good things,” said Norway head coach Joe Tinti. “Some things that could have gone our way didn’t, but in the end, when they shoot twice as good as we did from the free throw line, that’s what did us in.”

Norway did use a three-quarter court press at times in the game. It rattled the Mountaineers at certain points, with Norway capitalizing on IM turnovers on an occasion or two. Norway also had a 5-2 scoring run to start the third quarter, with the Knights leading by three points at the end of the see-saw stanza.

Iron Mountain capitalized on the Knights’ five plus minute scoring drought in the final quarter. Ellis was pleased with how well her team played on defense, especially at certain points of the game.

“When we were in a man-to-man, our defense was great. Norway started hitting a couple of threes and we wanted to take that away, and the girls did,” she said.

The Knights began working the ball inside to Carlson and senior MacKenzie Clifford, who scored 10 points in her final game in a Norway basketball uniform.

Tinti noted that he’ll miss all of the Norway seniors, and he appreciates their effort the last four years.

“We did finish 8-5 in the conference (Skyline Central), but I am a little disappointed with our overall record (8-8). To be honest, there’s a couple of games that we lost that we probably could have or should have won,” Tinti added. “But in the end, I am glad we had a season considering the adversity the girls had to endure, with the pandemic and having players, starters injured during the season.”

The Mountaineers, who improved to 4-12 with the win, remain home as the district host. They’ll entertain West PAC Conference foe West Iron on Wednesday evening with a 6 p.m. tip-off. The Wykons defeated Bark River-Harris 52-40 Monday night at the Charles Greenlund Memorial Gymnasium in Stambaugh.

West Iron defeated Iron Mountain twice during the regular season: 42-31 on Feb. 8 at Iron Mountain, and 55-34 at WIC on March 5.

Senior Claire Mongrain chipped in 12 points for the Mountaineers Monday night.

“I am happy for us to get the win tonight, tomorrow we’ll get ready for West Iron,” Ellis stated.

Norway 9 14 18 3 — 44

Iron Mtn 16 12 10 8 — 46

NORWAY: Popp 2, Lindsley 5, VanHolla 7, Clifford 10, Carlson 11, Freudinger 4, Burklund 5; FT: 10-21; F: 14; Fouled Out: None; 3-point FG: VanHolla, Clifford.

IRON MOUNTAIN: A. Ellis 2, Mongrain 12, Runsat 16, Callie Bianco 3, Powell 7, Maycroft 6; FT: 15-18; F: 15; Fouled Out: None; 3-point FG: Bianco.


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