Morrison, Lady Emeralds rally past Iron Mountain

IRON MOUNTAIN – Iron Mountain came out on fire and ran off to a double-digit lead on Manistique Monday evening, but couldn’t maintain the pace before falling 52-35 in girls Mid-Peninsula Conference basketball.

“I thought we handled the pressure well early,” Mountaineers coach Ginger Moore said. “We were attacking well, and it looked like we had a lot of zip, a lot of energy. I really had a good feeling about it.”

Alyssa Khor led the Mountaineer charge in quarter one, sinking a pair of triples. Alena Herman, Elli McCole, Marti Pirkola and Cassie Feira – who led IM with nine points – all put in buckets as the Mountaineers jumped out to as much as an 11-point lead in the frame.

But Manistique found its defensive footing after that and was able to work back to a 20-20 tie at halftime.

“I was a little concerned giving up 16 points in the first quarter alone,” Manistique coach Kelley Spettel said. ” I talked to them about it and said we better play some defense.”

The Emeralds abandoned their man-to-man coverage for a 1-3-1 zone, and it worked to create turnovers and slow the Mountaineers.

“It really worked for us,” Spettel said. “It’s more of our go-to defense. I wanted to play some man because we don’t do it a lot and I thought we could, but they are much more comfortable in that zone. That’s why it was a little more effective.”

Maggie Morrison led the Emeralds and all scorers in the game with a career-high 18 points, 11 of those coming in the fourth quarter thanks to a trio of threes which helped put the game out of reach.

Leah Cook added a career-high 14 more, as the Emeralds’ shooting only got better as the game progressed.

“We haven’t been shooting well, so this was nice to see,” Spettel said. “Morrison had an outstanding game, and Leah Cook too. That’s more of what I’ve been looking for from them all season and they were finally able to do it.”

After closing the gap in the second quarter – the run completed with a steal and lay-in by Allie Nagy with less than a minute to play in the half – Manistique (3-14, 2-8 M-PC) seized the lead for good early in the third.

Cook buried a trey in that frame, and Morrison added a couple more baskets.

“They shot very well tonight, hats off to them,” Moore said. “They came ready to play. They are in a similar situation as us, so we knew they’d be hungry. I think, in the end, they wanted it more than we did.

“We certainly did not have the fire that we did at the start of the game.”

Alena Herman had a team-best 11 rebounds for the Mountaineers. Feira had four steals to go with her team-leading nine points.

Iron Mountain’s jayvees defeated Manistique 56-44.

The Mountaineers (1-14, 0-9) host Kingsford Friday.