Strong 3rd quarter pushes Knights past Nordics

North Dickinson sophomore Spencer Kramer (24) drives to the basket as Norway junior Bryce Adams (2) tries to slow him down in Monday night’s boys varsity basketball matchup in Felch. (Sean Chase/Daily News photo)

FELCH — Looking to keep the loss column empty, the Norway Knights went to Felch on Monday and handled business against host North Dickinson in a 85-52 win.

“I thought our first half performance could have been a little bit better,” Knights boys varsity basketball coach Jeff Gallino said. “We were a little lethargic tonight. Stepped up in the second half and played a lot better.”

Senior forward Alex Ortman led all scorers with 28 points.

“He’s been with me for four years, he works hard,” Coach Gallino said. “He puts a lot of time in during the offseason and he’s really stepping up as a leader this year.”

For North Dickinson coach Chris Mattson, the third quarter is where the Knights (3-0) separated themselves in the game.

“I thought we played well in the first half, I really did,” Coach Mattson said. “Their pressure wasn’t causing as many turnovers as they are accustomed to and we were able to score on some easy buckets underneath.”

Coach Mattson was proud of how his team handled adversity.

“I thought our kids fought hard,” he added. “We got a little bit tired, later on in the game and Norway got some easy (baskets).”

The Nordics (1-2) opened the scoring in the first quarter as sophomore Ty King connected on a layup.

North Dickinson kept the pressure on and a Brady Jungwirth 3-point shot from the left wing put it ahead 10-5.

However, a few moments later, Norway senior guard Ian Popp buried a layup through contact. He made the accompanying free throw and tied things at 10.

Ortman took over from there and after connecting on a three and a layup, the Knights held a 19-12 lead going into the second quarter.

“We let them off,” Coach Mattson said. “We took a shot with about 8 seconds to go in the first quarter. They got the rebound, took it quickly down the court and (Ortman) hit a 3-point shot. That gave them a little bit of a momentum and it was a learning moment for a young team.”

Ortman opened the scoring in the second. But, on the very next possession, Jungwirth let go on a deep 3-pointer from the left wing that tickled the twine and cut the lead to six points.

The Knights kept the pressure on offensively and the lead was up to 10 points at halftime.

Still as the third quarter began it was anyone’s game.

Then Ortman took control.

The senior cager scored five of Norway’s first seven points in the quarter and recorded an assist to junior Cole Baij on the other basket, as the Knights pulled ahead 50-33.

Baij recorded 6 points in the paint during the third.

At the start of the fourth, the Norway lead had ballooned to 20 points.

Spencer Kramer drilled a 3-pointer and North Dickinson looked to be clawing its way back.

The Nordics, however, had no answer for Ortman, who netted 8 points in the final stanza.

The Knights received contributions from Mason Trudeau (14 point), Ian Popp (6 points), Bryce Adams (10 points), Cole Baij (15 points), AJ Gallino (5 points), Owen Baij (3 points) and Anthony Pineda (4 points).

Sophomore Spencer Kramer had 19 points for North Dickinson. He also recorded six rebounds and four assists.

The Nordics received contributions from King (14 points, 2 rebounds), Trenton Kramer (6 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists), Brady Jungwirth (11 points, 1 rebound, 8 assists, 2 steals), Mason Anderson (2 points, 1 assist, 2 steals), Julien Sleeter (1 rebound), Ricky Haney (5 rebounds), Colm McFadyen (1 rebound) and David Madigan (1 rebound).

North Dickinson heads out on the road for the first time this season on Thursday as it takes on Carney-Nadeau at 7 p.m.

“From a physicality standpoint, I think we’ll match up a little more favorably,” Coach Mattson said. “The last two teams we played fast, strong and big. They get up and down the court.”

The Knights are off until Dec. 11 when they head to Escanaba. Tip-off is at 6 p.m. CST.

“We have some things we can clean up on the defensive end, so four or five practices are going to help us,” Coach Gallino said. “Going into Escanaba and Iron Mountain next week, that’s going to be a tough week for us.”


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