Flivvers deny Mountaineers

By BURT ANGELI

Sports Writer

KINGSFORD – Great defense. Horrendous shooting. All-out effort.

Kingsford and Iron Mountain had it all in the 203rd basketball meeting between the Twin City rivals Tuesday.

Inspired play from Cole Tengesdahl along with a staunch man-to-man defense sent the Flivvers past the Mountaineers 40-25 before a vocal crowd.

With a scoring pace slower than Olympic curling, Iron Mountain held a 2-0 lead for nearly four minutes before Kingsford reeled off 10 unanswered points for a 10-2 advantage early in the second quarter.

“We’ve always talked about coming out of the gates and the kids were focused,” Kingsford Coach Dan Olkkonen said. “They understood what they needed to do. Our defense seemed to get better and better and better.”

The Mountaineers meshed just 11 of 40 field goals (27 percent) and 2 of 14 free throws. They trailed 15-6 at halftime and 25-11 after three quarters.

“Kingsford played pretty good defense but we missed a lot of shots,” Iron Mountain Coach Bucky Johnson said. “We shot the ball poorly. Some of it is on them and a lot is on us.”

Tengesdahl operated inside for eight of his game-high 11 points in the second half. Olkkonen said the 6-foot senior “played the game of his life.”

“Cole Tengesdahl had the best game I’ve ever seen him play,” Olkkonen said. “He studies their plays (before the game) and what they’re going to do. We give them options on what Iron Mountain might run and these kids kind of grab it.”

Tengesdahl and 6-foot-4 Jack Glodowski, who added eight points, dealt with 6-5 Mountaineers’ Zach Caudell and Jacob Thomann.

Kingsford built an 18-8 lead with five minutes left in the third period when Joe Gregory drained a triple. The Flivvers followed with an 8-1 blitz that hiked the margin to 25-9.

Two of those buckets came off steals, with the Flivvers producing 11 in the game – four by senior Lucas Jennings. Iron Mountain had 19 turnovers to 24 for Kingsford.

“We knew we could go full court pressure (in certain situations),” Olkkonen said. “We told our guys to give them fits and I think we got a couple steals.”

Iron Mountain showed some offense in the fourth quarter as Mark Beauchamp drilled a three-pointer right away. But the difference was 25-14 and the Mountaineers could move no closer than eight for the remainder of the period.

“The kids played hard until the end,” Johnson said. “You saw what happened when we scored a little bit. It changed the momentum and we got back in the game.”

When Iron Mountain got back to 33-25 with 1:51 remaining, Kingsford answered with a pair of Tengesdahl buckets and three points from Daniel Harrington.

Harrington had seven of his 10 points in the final four minutes.

“We knew scoring would be low,” said Olkkonen, whose Flivvers lost to the Mountaineers 50-44 in January. “So we had to take the best possessions that we can. This is the second game in a row where we’ve taken real good shots.”

Caudell’s seven points and nine rebounds led the Mountaineers.

Iron Mountain (8-7), which leads the Twin City series 137-66, hosts Westwood tonight.

“We cant dwell on this one,” said Johnson, noting tonight’s league game with the Patriots.

Kingsford (4-10) visits Marquette Friday.

The Flivvers are playing with confidence after a slow start to the season.

“We’ve been to almost the lowest point to being OK right now,” said Olkkonen, whose Flivvers face Menominee and Marquette next week. “It feels good to get those wins.

“We’ve got three big conference games in a row. Playing like this gives us confidence to get in the gym tomorrow and work hard.”

Kingsford handed Iron Mountain’s junior varsity its first loss, 37-35. Dylan DalSanto scored 11 points and Brandon Kowalkowski had 10 for the Flivvers. Tanner Huotari hooped 16 for the Mountaineers.

The Flivver freshmen, behind 14 points apiece from Andrew Ferree and Andrew Barker, spilled the Mountaineers 62-28. Gavin Wright led the Mountaineers with 12.

Iron Mountain 2 4 5 14 – 25

Kingsford 9 6 10 15 – 40

IM: Qualley 2, Beauchamp 6, Grenier 6, Caudell 7, Thomann 4. FT: 2-14. F: 17.

K: Gregory 5, Jennings 4, Voss 2, Harrington 10, Tengesdahl 11, Glodowski 8. FT: 9-17. F: 12.

3-point FG: Gregory, Beauchamp. FG shooting: Iron Mountain 11-40, Kingsford 15-38. Rebounding: IM 23 (Caudell 9, Beauchamp 6), Kingsford 29 (Harrington 7).