Kingsford turns back IM, 42-33


Sports Editor

IRON MOUNTAIN – Kingsford, scoring the first 12 points in the fourth quarter of what was a tie game through three, swept the season series with Iron Mountain, 42-33, Friday night in a non-conference rivalry match-up at Mountaineer Gymnasium.

“That’s kind of been the way this team has played,” Flivvers head coach Mike Cross said of the fourth-quarter surge. “In the second half, they can pour it on.

“The big thing is we hit some shots. Carlie (Benzie) got in foul trouble, and when she went out of the game the other kids really stepped up.”

Amber Larson and Courtney Qualley led the Flivvers with nine points each. Sam Fleming added eight more.

Larson did her work inside, where she also muscled a game-high 14 rebounds.

“Amber Larson, when we got the ball in her hands, she either scored or got a real good look,” Cross said. “She had a lot of rebounds, played a heck of a game.”

Qualley and Fleming suppled the outside threat, both connecting twice from 3-point range – none more clutch than the back-to-back daggers they delivered in the fourth.

Kingsford had opened a 32-26 lead on the Mountaineers midway through the final frame when Fleming and Qualley both hit to give Kingsford a double-digit lead. A pair of free throws by Fleming following that, and then a layup by Andrea Roell gave Kingsford its largest lead at 42-28.

Prior to that decisive push, the largest lead of the game belonged to Iron Mountain at 9-3 in the early going. The margin never exceeded two points during the second and third quarters. The score was tied seven different times in the middle stanzas.

“It was a great Iron Mountain-Kingsford game,” Mountaineers head coach John Hogberg said. “We played right with them.

If you’d have told me ahead of time we be tied heading into the final quarter, I would have taken that. We just didn’t finish the deal.”

Iron Mountain’s success on defense didn’t translate on the offensive end. Katelynn Johnson led the Mountaineers with eight points, but was held scoreless on four tries from deep.

In fact, the Mountaineers were shut out from 3-point territory, misfiring on nine attempts.

“Johnson can score,” Cross said. “We were very aware of her, and we did a good job of identifying were she was at.”

Freshman Katie Brule added seven points and a team-best eight rebounds for Iron Mountain but was limited due to three first-half fouls.

“We just can’t generate any offense,” Hogberg said. “We’re playing defense all night, hoping they don’t score, but at some point we’ve got to get some offense and put the ball in the basket.”

Iron Mountain’s offense could have benefited from more attempts. The Mountaineers were held to 13 fewer shots than Kingsford due in large part to 25 turnovers.

“They weren’t really pressuring us,” Hogberg said. “They were just playing an extended zone. But they play it pretty well.”

Benzie finished with seven points for Kingsford, scoring five of those in the first quarter and early second when Kingsford recovered from its slow start.

Iron Mountain led the entire first quarter. A triple by Qualley brought Kingsford within one early in the second, and a drive by Benzie gave Kingsford the lead at 13-11. Iron Mountain matched but never led again.

“I’m proud of them,” Hogberg said. “They played as hard as they could play. It was a great game and great atmosphere, the most people I’ve seen in here for a girls game in a while. We just came up on the wrong end of the stick.”

Both teams return to league play Tuesday. Kingsford, improving to 13-4, plays at Gladstone. Iron Mountain (3-15) plays at Gwinn.

Kingsford’s jayvees took a 53-35 win, while Iron Mountain’s freshmen won 52-13.

Kingsford 7 11 8 16 – 42

Iron Mountain 11 78 7 – 33

KINGSFORD: Larson 9, Qualley 9, Fleming 8, Benzie 7, Roell 5, Tresedder 2, Smith 2. FT: 12-21. F: 16.

IRON MOUNTAIN: Johnson 8, Brule 7, Pirkola 6, Herman 4, Gerhard 4, Bujold 2, Gendron 2. FT: 11-18. F: 16.

FG shooting – K: 13-44 (3-pt: 4-12); IM: 11-31 (3-pt: 0-9); 3-pt FGs – K: Fleming (2), Qualley (2). Rebounding – K: 29 (Larson 14); IM: 30 (Brule 8).