Gold Medal Classic kicks off

HERMANSVILLE – It was a basketball game between two junior high teams. It was typical enough, except for the fact that it was anything but.

Thursday night on the opening night of the 75th Annual Gold Medal Classic basketball tournament, the Norway and Carney-Nadeau eighth graders became the first junior high teams to take the hardwood at the historic tournament. In doing so, they now become part of the 75 years of history for this annual tournament that has so many stories, so many famous names wrapped up in it.

Those in attendance must have known they were witnessing history in the making.

“I’ve never seen so many flashbulbs go off in this gym, ever,” said tournament director Ray Bray. “Lights were flashing and there were lots of camera shots from the crowd.”

Bray said the young players on the court will have a lasting memory to look back on years from now.

“Someday they’ll be able to say 50 years from now, ‘I played in that gym when I was a kid,” he said. “They made history.”

The Norway team won the initial game of the Junior High division 44-33. The Carney-Nadeau team played similar to what you would expect a team from Carney to play like. They took a lot of three-point shots, they swiped steals, they were out-muscled at times but they still got their share of rebounds.

The Norway team eventually just wore them down. After sinking a triple to put Carney up 31-28 midway through the second half, Norway went on a 16-0 run to put the game away.

Norway’s Josh Dapoz enjoyed his first experience at the unique Hermansville Community Center gym.

“It was a lot of fun playing here,” he said. “It’s different from all the other gyms we play in.”

There were adjustments for the two junior high teams. Aside from a court that’s smaller than they might be used to playing on, there was a constantly running clock to deal with.

“It was a lot of fast paced basketball,” said Dapoz.

The Carney-Nadeau kids were all confident shooters, they just didn’t want to fall Thursday night. Zack Schetter said it wasn’t for lack of effort.

“A lot of us practice on our own. Everyone’s pretty good at shooting,” he said. “Everyone pretty much spends their time in the gym. The shots just didn’t go in today.”

Bray said the the new division appeared to be a success.

“For the maiden voyage, I think it went pretty good. We had two good teams and a good game,” he said. “There’s lots of people here from parents to grandparents. We have these young kids involved in stuff like that and they’ll come and maybe they’ll come back and watch the older kids.

“I just wish we had more teams, but I’m sure if we do this next year, it’ll come. I enjoyed it.”

In other action Thursday night, Hermansville Whiten’s Dry Kiln defeated Stephenson Rimshots 68-61 in a Class EE game. Mike Bellmore led all scorers with 27 points for Whitens while Dave Whitens added 23 points. Aaron Pettit led Rimshots with 19 points followed by Josh St. Julianna (13) and Dave MIller (12).

Also in Class EE action, Norway Auto Parts beat Daggett Ireq Photography 50-29. The evening ended with a triple-overtime thriller, as Florence Lakeside Bed &?Breakfast dropped Marinette Auto Plus 77-68 in Class E.