Mountaineers drop Emeralds, end skid
IRON MOUNTAIN – Iron Mountain, riding the red-hot shooting of three seniors, broke out of a three-game skid Thursday with a 68-43 Mid-Peninsula Conference boys’ basketball victory over Manistique.
Taylor Huotari, Luke Zambon and Gerry Pirkola combined for 55 points and 10 triples to spark the Mountaineers.
“We shot the ball well, obviously,” said Coach Bucky Johnson, his Mountaineers firing at a 51-percent clip from the floor. “Offensively, I was pleased with the way they moved the ball and found the open man.
“They moved the ball well on offense and they attacked the basket. We were in the bonus pretty early in the game.”
Iron Mountain owned a 36-23 halftime lead and launched the third quarter with a 12-5 run over the first three minutes for a 48-28 cushion.
“I was really disappointed our guys didn’t rise up to the challenge,” Manistique Coach Todd Kangas said. “This was one of those games where if we had toughened up a little bit and challenged ourselves, we could have stayed in it.
“Unfortunately, we went backwards.”
Huotari topped the Mountaineers with 21 points – 17 in the first half. Zambon tallied 18 points on four triples and Pirkola chipped in 16 with four treys and eight assists.
“Iron Mountain has three good shooters that score from distance and penetration,” Kangas said. “I’m sure when they shoot well they’re difficult to stop.”
Zach Lambert drained three triples and paced Manistique with 13 points. Conner Selling added 12 – nine in the first half.
“Defensively, we played pretty solid,” Johnson said. “The subs came in and did a good job. They played hard.
“It was a nice win to get.”
The Mountaineers held a 22-21 rebounding edge and sank 26-of-51 field goals.
Iron Mountain (7-3 overall, 5-1 MPC) hosts second-ranked Negaunee on Tuesday. Manistique (3-7, 1-6) travels to Negaunee on Jan. 25.
“Negaunee is going to be a handful,” said Johnson, who was likely speaking for Kangas as well.
The Mountaineers also won the jayvee (55-35) and freshmen (74-22) games.