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North Central cagers split at Norway

NORWAY — The Norway girls reaped the benefits of a fourth-quarter surge here Friday night in a 52-40 basketball victory over the North Central Jets.

Norway led 35-33 following a seven-foot jump shot by sophomore Andi Carlson with 2.1 seconds left in the third quarter of this Skyline Central Conference contest.

The Knights (4-2 overall, 3-2 SCC) then scored the next seven points, gaining a 42-33 cushion on a putback by Carlson midway through the fourth.

“This is a very good bounce back for us after a disappointing loss last night,” said Norway coach Joe Tinti. “Andi put in some nice minutes, and it was good having the sophomores tonight.”

Friday’s victory came 24 hours after a fourth-quarter comeback came up a little short for the Knights in a 39-33 loss to Iron Mountain.

After sophomore Ashtyn Smith hit a layup to bring North Central within 42-35. The Knights, however, didn’t allow the Jets to get any closer.

“They had a size advantage at every position, but offensive rebounds and free throws were probably the difference,” said Jets’ coach Pete Schlenvogt. “We couldn’t get a travel call or get to the free-throw line. I can’t fault the effort. The girls are doing what we ask of them.”

Senior Andie Arsenault scored 29 points for the Jets, who hit 4-of-10 free throws. Norway was 8-of-24 from the line.

“Andie is one of the best players in the area,” said Schlenvogt. “That’s where we need her to be. We’re trying to get other people to put the ball in the hole, and they shot better than we expected tonight.”

North Central (2-3 overall and league) led 33-31 after a lay-in by Arsenault with 1:35 left in the third stanza.

Norway, which already lost three starters to season-ending injuries, tied the score on a 10-foot set shot by junior Averie Popp at 1:03.

“We knew Andie was going to get her points,” said Tinti. “We built up the tempo in the fourth quarter. We were trying to wear her down, and I think we did that. We were able to keep the ball out of her hands. The girls did a nice job.”

A layup by sophomore Zoe LaBonte enabled the Jets to take a 25-23 lead into the halftime locker room.

Norway responded with a 6-0 run to start the third quarter, taking a 29-25 lead on a layup by senior Mackenzie Clifford midway through the period.

Arsenault then added a 3-point play and a jumper from the top of the key, giving the Jets a short-lived 33-31 lead at 2:29.

Clifford scored 21 points, and Carlson finished with 10 for the Knights, who committed 12 turnovers. The Jets had 24 miscues.

North Central 11 14 10 5 — 40

Norway 10 13 10 19 — 52

North Central — Kleikamp 3, Arsenault 29, Smith 2, LaBonte 2, LaCoursier 4. FT: 4-10; F: 22; Fouled out: Smith; Technical foul: Bench; 3-point field goals; Arsenault 5, Kleikamp.

Norway — Popp 4, Lindsley 2, Chellew 5, Clifford 10, VanHolla 3, Burkland 7, Carlson 10. FT: 8-24; F: 14; Fouled out: Burklund; 3-point field goals: Chellew, VanHolla.

The Norway boys were just 10-of-22 from the free throw line before the last two minutes of Friday night’s basketball game.

They hit 7-of-8 from the charity stripe when it counted most, however, in a 45-36 triumph over the North Central Jets.

The Knights were clinging to a 38-36 lead when senior Logan Parolini stepped up to the line and hit a pair of gifters for a four-point cushion.

Parolini was 6-of-6, and junior Nolan Amundson split of pair of free throws at crunch time in this intense and physical Skyline Central Conference match-up.

The Knights (3-2 overall, 3-1 SCC) also committed just five tournaments while the Jets finished with 15.

“I thought we took good care of the ball,” said Norway coach Jeff Gallino. “Five turnovers is exceptional for us. North Central has some good athletes. Fortunately, we were able to close it out with free throws. We needed that to close out the game. That was exciting for the kids. This is a good win for our team.”

North Central (1-3 overall, 1-2 league) led 30-25 after sophomore Dylan Plunger split a pair of free throws with 47 seconds left in the third quarter.

Freshman Alex Ortman then brought the Knights within 30-27 with a pair of gifters with 35 seconds remaining in the third, and senior Zach Seat tied the contest on a jump shot from top of the key with three seconds left in the period.

The Knights scored the first four points of the fourth frame before junior Bradey Anderson sank a jumper from top of the key to trim North Central’s deficit to 34-33.

Parolini added a pair of layups to put Knights up 38-33, setting the stage for a successful conclusion.

“It was a battle,” said Jets’ coach Mike Malone. “It always is in this building. My guys took a lot of strides tonight. We played fantastic positional defense. In my book, this is a win. This is our best game so far for sure. A few weeks ago we were still playing football. If we continue to progress like this, we’re going to go into the (Division 4) district playing good basketball.”

North Central led 20-14 after the opening frame but scored only three points in the second.

Anderson drained a 23-foot jumper from the right wing to give the Jets a 23-20 lead three seconds before halftime.

Sophomore Luke Gorzinski hit a fast-break layup with 6:30 left in the third stanza, then added a putback at 3:38 to give the Jets a 27-20 cushion.

The Jets led by as much as 29-21 following a fast break layup by senior Ian Gorzinski before the Knights began to whittle away at their deficit.

“Luke is a handful, but when we went man, I thought Jeff VanHolla did a nice job on him,” said Gallino. “He (Gorzinski) is a good player. I thought Alex Ortman also provided a nice spark for us when we needed it. It was a hard-fought game.”

Parolini led Norway with 20 points, and VanHolla had nine. Luke Gorzinski, who played with four fouls in the fourth quarter, paced the Jets with 16. Anderson added 11.

Norway, which also won the jayvee contest 49-40, travels to Superior Central Monday. North Central visits Munising Tuesday.

North Central 20 3 7 6 — 36

Norway 14 6 10 15 — 45

North Central — Anderson 11, I. Gorzinski 4, Riley 2, L. Gorzinski 16, Eichmeier 2, Plunger 1. FT: 23; Fouled out: Riley; 3-point field goals: Anderson 3, L. Gorzinski.

Norway — Amundson 2, Seat 5, Bray 5, VanHolla 9, Parolini 20, Ortman 4. FT: 17-30; F: 11; Fouled out: None; 3-point field goals: Amundson, Seat, VanHolla.

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