Mountaineers handle Manistique in opener

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Iron Mountain boys basketball team got off to a fast start to the season with a 71-29 Mid-Peninsula Conference win against Manistique on Tuesday night.

The Mountaineers (1-0) opened on a 9-2 run and raced to a 43-17 halftime lead.

“I thought it was a good first win,” Iron Mountain head coach Bucky Johnson said.

Marcus Johnson led the Mountaineers with a game-high 27 points and made seven assists and four steals. Jaden Vicenzi had 13 points while teammate Charlie Gerhard added nine points and seven steals.

“These kids share the ball and look for the open man and pretty much play unselfish basketball,” Bucky Johnson said. “It’s easy to stop one guy but it’s hard to stop five.”

The Iron Mountain offense fell into midseason form with hard passes around the perimeter, into the paint and across the court. With six players 6-foot-2 or taller, the Mountaineers made their presence known in the paint all night. Gerhard had four blocks.

Schyler Anderson led the Emeralds (0-1) with nine points.

Iron Mountain’s pesky defense stifled the young Emeralds.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy one. We knew they’d pressure us, especially on their court,” Manistique head coach Ed Marietti said. “We did decent in the first half. Second half, we got away from it a little bit and they got some easy buckets.

“Offensively, we didn’t make good passes, we didn’t run crips patterns and we didn’t keep our spacing.”

The Emeralds feature a young roster with three sophomores, a junior and five seniors.

“We’re young. We got three sophomores up and next game I might be starting them,” Marietti said. “Three returners aren’t experienced, they didn’t play much last year as juniors.

“We basically (are) just learning how to play varsity basketball. I like their attitude. They’re willing to work, but nine guys, it’s tough to work with that. We’ll find different ways of doing that. It’ll be a learning year.”