Hot shooting helps Mountaineers shock Braves

IRON MOUNTAIN – Katelynn Johnson and Iron Mountain’s seniors wrapped up the home regular season schedule in fine form Thursday.

Johnson drained 22 points, 15 in the second half, to lead the Mountaineers past Gladstone 51-41 in non-conference girls basketball.

“Katelynn has been injured this year and it was nice to see her come out stroking the ball and hitting some shots,” Mountaineer coach John Hogberg said. “The season is winding down, we may have only one game left in this gym and she lives in here.”

Gladstone held a seven-point lead in the second quarter before leaving at halftime with a 22-19 edge.

“We knew coming in that Johnson was a big part of their offense,” Braves coach Karl Dollhopf said. “We just didn’t get it done. Early on we did.”

The zone-shredding Johnson buried five second-half triples, with three coming in the first four minutes of the third quarter.

“We had a couple lapses where she had good looks and got into a rhythm,” said Dollhopf, forced to change defenses after Johnson’s assault. “That was just too much and we didn’t have an answer for that.”

The Mountaineers rallied for a 32-26 advantage entering the fourth quarter. The Braves closed to 32-30 in the opening minutes.

“At times, I thought we competed hard and played really well,” Dollhopf said. “In the second half they got a little separation, we relaxed a little and seemed to lose our focus.”

Johnson hit back-to-back threes to pad the Mountaineer lead to 38-32 at 5:22.

“When Katelynn hits shots we’re going to keep going to her,” Hogberg said. “That opens things for other girls to get shots.”

A Lexi Hongisto basket sliced the deficit to 38-34 but that was the closest Gladstone would get for the rest of the game.

Anna Wulf and Christine Sharon each scored nine points to lead the Braves, who did not score a field goal after Alexis St. Cyr’s steal with 2:57 remaining in the fourth quarter.

“It hurt us losing Jess Beaudry,” said Dollhopf, referring to his junior forward who took an inadvertent poke to the face early in the third quarter and did not return.

Mountaineer senior Abby Gerhard added a double-double, with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“Our offense works a lot better when we execute and put the ball in the basket,” Hogberg said. “We’ve been in every game. We just haven’t been able to finish them off.”

The other three seniors also made big contributions – Morgan Bujold, seven points; Sarah Pirkola, six, and Sarah Girard, two along with a big block in the final two minutes when Gladstone threatened.

“This was Senior Night and we’ve got a lot of girls that have been playing a long time,” said Hogberg, figuring all but Girard have been playing basketball together since third grade. “It was nice to see our seniors take over in the second half, finish the game and win the game.

“I give my seniors credit. They all have a passion for the game.”

Iron Mountain (4-15) completes the regular season tonight at Gwinn. Gladstone (10-10) begins Class B District 64 play Monday, taking on Menominee at 7:45 p.m. at Kingsford.

Gladstone won the JV game 50-42, while the Mountaineer freshmen prevailed 32-23.