Knights hang on for road win over Niagara

Girls basketball roundup

Norway junior Anna Falk (11) and Niagara freshman Sydney Swanson (33) battle for a rebound on Thursday at Niagara High School. (Sean Chase/Daily News photo)

NIAGARA, Wis. — It came down to free throws on Thursday when the Norway girls varsity basketball team and the Lady Badgers faced off in Niagara, Wis.

Niagara (11-13, 8-8) had multiple chances to win the game late, but finished 12 for 30 from the charity stripe and the Knights (10-9, 3-3) secured the 27-26 nonconference win.

It was senior night for the Lady Badgers and they honored their three seniors, Annika Sweig, Ema Brasure and Emily Kay, prior to the game. They also were inserted into the starting lineup.

“We were 12 for 30 from the free throw line and we deserved to lose,” Lady Badgers head coach Karl Lamoreaux said. “It’s that simple. It’s been our problem all year and it bites us every game and it bit us again.

“If we get in close games, we’re going to lose until we make free throws. (I’m) very disappointed. We did a lot of good things but if you don’t make free throws, you don’t win.”

Niagara freshman Bristol Sanicki (10) loads up a 3-point shot in the Lady Badgers’ 27-26 loss to Norway. Niagara opens WIAA tournament action on Tuesday at home against Gibraltar. (Sean Chase/Daily News photo)

Norway had issues of its own in the game, but head coach Brian Adams was glad to see his players find a way to survive a close game.

“Obviously, we’re happy to win,” Coach Adams said. “I’ll call it the ugliest, most beautiful win we’ve had this year, because it was ugly. I told them in the locker room, ‘Sometimes when you get in a game like this, you’re not doing anything right. The other team doesn’t seem to be doing anything right and you’ve got to survive. We had a one-point lead at the end and we found a way to survive.”

The Knights went into the game without junior Mary Cavagnetto, who is dealing with a high ankle sprain, and senior Tori Cooper, who was sick.

“We were without Mary Cavagnetto,” Coach Adams said. “She is one of our best 3-point shooters, so that hurt. Tori Cooper, who was out sick, couldn’t play tonight. It was really a six-person rotation. … We were able to put it together enough to pull it out.”

Sophomore Lauren Adams opened the scoring in the first half with a 3-pointer for the right wing. Junior Rachael Walker answered with a layup and the Lady Badgers made it a 3-2 game.

(Terry Raiche photo) Kingsford’s Addisyn Kriegl (11) drives past Iron Mountain’s Macy Linsenbigler (24) on a fast break during Thursday’s contest at Mountaineer Gym.

Then both teams began to struggle on the offensive end and no one scored until Alivia Kleikamp converted an and-1 to give Niagara its first lead of the night, 5-3.

Sophomore Paytan Carlson and Adams each connected on a 3-pointer down the stretch and the Knights took an 11-9 lead into halftime.

Kleikamp kicked off the scoring in the second half, converting 1 of 2 free throws, and it looked like Niagara was going back to what made them successful the last time the teams faced off.

“The first time we played Niagara, we were up 21-10 at halftime and they went to a man (defense),” Coach Adams said. “We blew the lead and they really hurt us in the post. I thought we did a pretty good job in the post (Thursday).”

Both teams struggled from the free throw line in the second half, but the Knights didn’t have the same issues at the 3-point line. They made four in the half as Lauren Adams had two, Carlson netted one and Abby Richter added one.

Niagara only made two in the final 18 minutes, but it wouldn’t have mattered if they converted from the charity stripe. The Lady Badgers had seven opportunities at the line in the games’ final three minutes and converted three shots.

And still, it was a tie game with 17 seconds left. Then Niagara fouled Lauren Adams. She made the front end of a one-and-one to lock up the 27-26 win.

Lauren Adams led all scorers with 14 points.

The Knights also received contributions from Richter (7 points) and Carlson (6 points).

Kleikamp was Niagara’s leading scorer with 10 points.

The Lady Badgers also received contributions from Elesia Sweig (5 points), Walker (3 points), Brasure (3 points) and Sydney Swanson (5 points).

Norway is back home on Tuesday for a matchup with Eben Junction.

Niagara has to turn its attention to the first round of the WIAA girls basketball tournament’s opening round on Tuesday as it welcomes Gibraltar to town at 7 p.m.



IRON MOUNTAIN — Iron Mountain senior Emily Copley hit a free throw with 10 seconds left and Kingsford’s attempt to win the game in the final seconds missed as the host Mountaineers edged the Flivvers 48-47 Thursday night to earn a split in the season series.

Copley scored 14 of her game-high 22 points in the middle quarters when the Mountaineers (6-13) established a 41-35 lead heading into the fourth.

“Copley had an excellent game,” IM coach Karen Ellis said. “Her rebounding and inside game were very strong. She really muscled the ball up for her shots.”

Copley also finished with 11 rebounds. Teammate Macy Linsenbigler also posted a double-double with 15 points and 17 rebounds.

The Flivvers held a 14-13 lead after the opening quarter, led by Anna Bortolini’s two 3-pointers and Alyvia Kowalski’s bucket and two free throws.

The Mountaineers edged in front 25-24 by halftime as Copley scored seven points, Linsenbigler nailed two free throws and Ashlyn Bal sank a triple.

Iron Mountain built its six-point lead after three quarters when Copley and Linsenbigler each connected on three free throws each as the Flivvers began to struggle with foul difficulties. Three Kingsford starters eventually fouled out and another finished with four.

“We just didn’t play well,” Kingsford coach Jon Lorenzoni said. “Too many fouls. We were not very strong mentally.

“I didn’t prepare us very well. Tough loss.”

The Flivvers (8-11) did make a push in the fourth, as Bortolini and Abby Przeslakowski recorded two buckets each and Alaina Kowalski buried a 3-pointer and sank a free throw.

But Copley’s free throw spelled the difference as the Mountaineers won for the fourth time in their last six games.

Bal finished with eight points for IM and Bella Pickett recorded three.

“I’m very proud of how hard the girls worked tonight,” Ellis said. “We’ve definitely improved with our ball movement, rebounding and overall shot selection.”

Bortolini topped the Flivvers with 15 points before fouling out, while Alaina Kowalski hit for 14 points. Alyvia Kowalski finished with nine prior to her departure with five fouls, Przeslakowski had eight and Addisyn Kriegl sank a free throw.

Both the Flivvers and the Mountaineers are off until Tuesday. Kingsford will host Division 1-3 No. 5 Gladstone (12-6) and Iron Mountain will travel to Gwinn (1-18).



FLORENCE, Wis. — The Florence girls varsity basketball team closed out its regular season schedule at home on Thursday as the Ladycats (17-7, 7-3) fell to Northern Lakes Conference leader Crandon at Florence High School.

The Cardinals poured it on in the first half, scoring 26 points and holding Florence to 17. In the opening frame, the Ladycats’ Bryn Sullivan connected on two 3-pointers and Bella Milan added another.

Crandon slowed down in the second half only recording 18 points, however, they managed to hold Florence to 13 points for the conference win.

Junior Kamdan Johnson led the Ladycats with 11 points.

Florence also received contributions from Bella Millan (6 points), Vicki Peterson (2 points), Naomi Millan (5 points) and Sullivan (6 points).

The Ladycats open WIAA tournament action on Tuesday as the No. 4 seed. They will host Suring (5-17, 3-11) at 7 p.m.



CRYSTAL FALLS — After snapping its losing streak earlier in the week, the Forest Park girls varsity basketball team welcomed North Dickinson to town on Thursday looking to start a win streak.

The Lady Trojans did just that as they toppled the Nordics 58-35 in Skyline Central Conference action.

“We had a great first quarter,” FP head coach Kim Bjork said. “Our pressure defensively was relentless. It was a good night for us as a team. It’s nice to get two wins this week.”

While the Lady Trojans were finding success in the first quarter, it was a different story for North Dickinson.

“Too many unforced turnovers for us, especially in the first quarter,” Nordics head coach Kirk Mattson said. “We put ourselves in a pretty big hole and couldn’t recover.

“I thought Forest Park played with a little more urgency than we did and they also shot the ball really well tonight.

“Give them credit because we just did not match their energy and they took full advantage of that and controlled the game from start to finish.”

Forest Park’s Elsie Williams caught fire in the opening quarter, connecting on three 3-pointers and netting 11 points.

The Lady Trojans used that momentum to lock up a 32-22 lead at the halftime break.

Williams buried two 3-pointers in the third quarter, pushing her total to five for the game, and Forest Park rolled to the victory.

Williams led all scorers with 20 points. She also recorded five rebounds and seven steals.

The Lady Trojans also received contributions from Kaidince Woollard (15 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists), Vienna Price (4 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists), Ava Fischer (6 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals), Jessie Loehr (2 points, 2 rebounds), Charlie Larson (6 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal), Lilly Post (4 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist) and Lauren Kudwa (1 point, 4 rebounds, 1 assist).

North Dickinson received contributions from Jessica Harwath (3 points), Raina Ledzian (6 points), Mya Grunlund (5 points), Ava Oman (9 points), Hailee Siegler (3 points) Aubrey Applekamp (8 points) and Cami Sleeter (1 point).

The Nordics are at home on Monday against Rapid River while the Lady Trojans are off until Thursday when they welcome Bark River-Harris to town at 6:15 p.m.



CALUMET — Calumet senior Caitlyn Strom sank two free throws after a technical foul was called on West Iron County with 3.6 seconds left in the game to lift the Copper Kings to a 46-44 West PAC Conference victory Thursday night in Calumet.

Leading 44-43, the Wykons appeared on their way to dribbling out the remaining time but were whistled for a controversial traveling call deep in the Calumet end of the court.

Directly after the call, a West Iron player was hit with a technical foul, leaving the Wykons stunned at the turn of events.

“Great high school basketball game,” WIC coach Eric Shamion said. “Our girls played hard the whole game. Unfortunate what happened at the end.”

Still, as Shamion admitted, the Wykons (9-10) had plenty of chances to extend their lead in the second half but shot just 9 of 26 (34.6 percent)) from the foul line on the night.

“We should have put the game away with our free-throw shooting,” Shamion said.

The Copper Kings (10-9) grabbed a 13-9 lead near the end of the first quarter on a 3-pointer and a putback by Kiirsi Johnson. West Iron pulled to within one at quarter’s end on a triple by Kaitlyn Smith.

The Wykons then started the second period on a 9-2 run on two buckets by Danica Shamion, a 3-pointer by Rowyn Fiszer and a putback by Haiden Gill.

Calumet pulled to within 26-24 at the break, but Wykon junior center Sidney Storti sank two layups to spark her team on an 8-2 run to begin the third quarter that led to West Iron’s biggest lead of the night at eight.

Trailing 38-33 starting the fourth quarter, the Copper Kings slashed their deficit to 42-41 on a 3-pointer by Johnson with 5½ minutes remaining.

The teams struggled to score from there with the only bucket before the final minute coming from Strom.

Down 43-42, Danica Shamion then sank two free throws to put her team on top.

The Copper Kings misfired shortly after, Storti grabbed the rebound and the Wykons held to ball from the 34.8 second mark until the determining sequence 31.2 seconds later.

After Strom calmly hit the technical free throws, Johnson added another with less than a second left as West Iron fouled on the ensuing inbound play near half court.

Shamion led West Iron with 16 points, Storti added eight, Seanna Stine and Lacey Shamion scored six each, Fiszer and Smith each finished with three and Gill added two.

Strom led all scorers with 17 and Johnson accounted for 11.

The Wykons continue their four-game road stretch to end the regular season with a trip to Westwood (9-8) on Tuesday.

Daily News sports writer Jerry DeRoche contributed to this report.


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