Nordics go deep to beat Knights
By RON DEUTER
FELCH – Junior Reggie Johnson had a breakout performance and North Dickinson pulled away from Norway in the third quarter en route to a 50-35 non-conference boys basketball victory Thursday evening.
Johnson scored a game-high 19 points, dropping 14 of those in the second half. And he sunk three of North Dickinson’s seven 3-pointers.
“I’m happy for Reggie,” North Dickinson head coach Chris Mattson said. “I’ve been waiting for him to step up and play confident with his shot, and his shot was on tonight. He stepped up big tonight.”
The Nordics outscored Norway 11-3 to open the third quarter after scoring the final four points of the first half. North Dickinson, employing an intense man defense, limited the Knights to two field goals in the third quarter.
Threes by Johnson and Collin Roell pushed the score to 35-19 with just under two minutes in the frame.
“We came out and hit a couple of shots early on in the third quarter,” Mattson said. “We stressed at halftime that if we came out with a lot of energy, played well defensively and made some shots, that we’d have a good chance.
“I’m very proud of my boys tonight.”
Logan O’Neil added nine points. Derek Wagner scored seven, and Roell finished with six, hitting another three in the fourth quarter.
The Nordics are still waiting to get fully healthy, missing both Matt Schultz and Tim Hruska.
“Some other players had to step up, and they did,” Mattson said. “I thought Roell gave us come fine minutes, hitting two big buckets in the second half. To see him play confidently is a good sign for our team.”
North Dickinson was 50-percent from beyond the arc, going 7-for-14. Norway made just 2-of-15 from deep.
Austin Grayvold’s 13 led the Knights, but he only had one basket before halftime, as the Knights struggled to maintain control of the ball against North Dickinson’s energetic defense.
“It comes down to the same thing that has been bothering us all year so far, turnovers,” Norway coach Ben Leiker said. “We turn it over too much. We had 23 tonight. That’s 23 less shots. It’s pretty hard to beat anybody with 23 less shots.
“North Dickinson is a good team. They’re solid. They’re hard-nosed and they work hard.”
A slow second quarter saw both teams score just six points, but North Dickinson put in four of those in the final minute thanks to a 15-footer by Wagner and a lay-up from O’Neil just ahead of the buzzer to give the Nordics a five-point edge at the break.
“I don’t think Norway had their best shooting night tonight,” Mattson said. “The second quarter was really dull by both teams.
“It seems like we play a little better if we can get out and run, get a couple of wing players up the court in front of our point guard.”
North Dickinson (2-1) is idle until Thursday, Jan. 2, when the Nordics host West Iron County.
Norway (2-1) is back at it tonight, heading to face the Mountaineers in a Mid-Peninsula Conference matchup.
Norway 10 6 7 12 – 35
N. Dickinson 15 6 17 12 – 50
NORWAY: A. Grayvold 13, Rossato 4, Bonetti 5, Bal 3, Pearman 2, B. Grayvold 6, Faull 2. FT: 5-11. F: 11.
NORTH DICKINSON: Berg 4, O’Neil 9, Wagner 7, Johnson 19, Clark 5, Roell 6. FT: 3-5. F: 15.
FG shooting – N: 13-36 (3-pt: 2-15); ND: 21-41 (3pt: 7-14). 3-pt FGs – N: Bal, Bonetti; ND: Johnson (3), Roell (2), Wagner, O’Neil. Rebounding – N: 21 (Bryce Grayvold 10); ND: 21 (Noah Berg 10).