Knights go cold, fall to Gwinn
By RON DEUTER
NORWAY – Stuck in a lengthy scoreless stretch in the second half, Norway couldn’t keep pace with Gwinn and fell 46-27 Friday night in Mid-Peninsula Conference boys basketball.
Down just four points at the half, Norway was unable to find net for nearly 10 minutes toward the end of the third and into the fourth, and Gwinn took advantage with 18 unanswered points and its third league win in as many tries.
“I don’t know what happened,” Norway coach Ben Leiker said. “I think we might have taken too many threes, but they were actually wide open. We didn’t take a forced shot. We just couldn’t make one.”
The Knights were 3-for-18 from beyond the arc and shot 26 percent for the game.
“We couldn’t make a free throw, couldn’t make a putback, couldn’t make a layup,” Leiker said. “I really don’t know. That’s two games in a row where we couldn’t score in the fourth quarter. It’s going to be hard to win games when that happens.”
A 3-pointer by Nick Bal with about 3:00 minutes to play in the third proved to be Norway’s final points until a layup by Stone Rossato with about a minute remaining in the game.
Gwinn, meanwhile kicked it into gear in the paint, after struggling down low earlier in the game.
The Modeltowners put three players in double figures in scoring, led by Alex Morse’s 15 points. Owen DeVooght scored 13, and Justin Nyquist canned 11 in his first game of the season after recovering from a broken wrist suffered before Thanksgiving.
“We just shot horrible, especially early,” Gwinn head coach Darren Sinnaeve said. “Seems like every play we ran, we got a great look in the paint. We just couldn’t put it in.”
Despite the struggles on offense, non-stop pressure helped Gwinn hold a lead the whole game.
“At least with the pressure, it helps you to keep another team down,” Sinnaeve said. “You’re able to fight through it. We were able to keep the pressure on and take them out of their offensive rhythm.”
Nyquist had eight of his points in the second half.
“He’s just trying to get his legs under him,” Sinnaeve said. “He just started practicing this week.”
Norway, led by Austin Grayvold’s seven points, totaled 21 turnovers in the contest.
“We should have been able to take advantage of their press,” Leiker said. “They were out of position a lot, and kids weren’t moving the ball. We weren’t turning it over on the press. We turned it over on the half court. Maybe the press got us out of our half court.”
Norway was within a basket most of the first half, but never got in front. Unwilling to challenge Gwinn’s size inside, the Knights only went to the line five times in the game, missing each time.
Morse caught fire from the perimeter in the second quarter for Gwinn, sinking three triples in a row to help the visitors to its four-point halftime cushion. He added another late in the third that put Gwinn (3-1, 3-0 MPC) up five and kick-started the 18-0 run.
“We were fortunate to win here,” Sinnaeve said. “I thought our effort and hustle was outstanding. It’s always good to win on the road. This conference is going to be a battle this year.”
Gwinn took the jayvee game 47-38.
Norway (2-3, 1-2) heads to West Iron County Tuesday.
Gwinn9 13 10 14 – 46
Norway5 13 7 2 – 27
GWINN: Mottes 2, Morse 15, Nyquist 11, DeVooght 13, Skinner 4, Redlon 1. FT: 8-17. F: 14.
NORWAY: A. Grayvold 7, Bal 6, Pearman 4, B. Grayvold 6, Schultz 2, Rossato 2. FT: 0-5. F: 17. FO: A. Grayvold.
FG shooting – G: 17-48 (3-pt: 4-8); N: 12-45 (3-pt: 3-18). 3-pt FGs – G: Morse (4); N: Bal (2), A. Grayvold. Rebounding – G: 39 (Nyquist 7); N: 33 (Pearman 7).