Coming up short

Iron Mountain boys rally in second half to top Negaunee

By RYAN SPITZA

Journal Sports Writer

NEGAUNEE — With just six points at halftime, Iron Mountain sophomore guard Foster Wonders put up 13 more in the second half, and that combined with 22 points from junior point guard Marcus Johnson, lifted the Mountaineers over Negaunee 50-41 at Lakeview Memorial Gym on Friday night.

The Mountaineers are now 2-0 on the season, while Negaunee fell to 0-2.

Iron Mountain head coach Bucky Johnson credited the Miners for a first-half performance that kept his team on their toes.

“The game plan that (Negaunee head coach Dan) Waterman put together was fantastic,” he said. “He had his kids prepared and we weren’t really ready and we were settling for shots in the first half that weren’t good. I give credit to Negaunee. They played really hard and competed.”

Negaunee head coach Dan Waterman said he was proud of the way his team hung tough against a strong Iron Mountain squad that returned all of its starters from last season.

“I’m happy with all of my guys,” he said. “We knew Iron Mountain is a good team, but we also know that we’re a good team. It’s different than last year, and even though our record is 0-2, the growth in the game of our players should have been evident (tonight).”

With the Mountaineers holding Jason Waterman to six points, the Miners were forced to go to other players including junior guards Drew Lindberg and Jakson Sager.

“We went away from Jason because Drew and Jakson were playing so good,” Waterman said. “We have other options and Drew stepped up and hit shots.”

Despite that 0-2 mark, both which ended in close losses, Waterman is happy with the progress his team has made thus far.

“We’re never in the business for moral victories, but in the second game of the season we’re looking for progress more than the result,” he said. “Progress is really important right now and we made a huge stride from Tuesday to Friday. We’ve just got to get back to work. Tuesday isn’t going to be an easy game and we’ll have to go down to Escanaba and play hard.”

The teams battled to a 10-10 draw after one quarter of play before the Miners jumped ahead in the second 23-14, which included two triples from Lindberg, a layup from junior forward Jake Larson, and three free throws. The Mountaineers managed two more points before the half on free throws from Vicenzi making it a 23-16 Miners lead at the break.

Iron Mountain came out surging in the second half with the first 10 points of the third quarter.

Wonders got things going with a jumper before Johnson hit a 3-pointer from the right side to pull within 23-21.

Wonders hit a pair of free throws shortly after to tie the game, and gave his team its first lead since the first quarter with a triple after that to put the Mountaineers up 26-23.

Negaunee finally answered with a free throw and a layup from junior guard Drew DuShane to notch things up again at 26-26. Iron Mountain followed that up with consecutive buckets from senior forward Charlie Gerhard and Wonders.

The Miners pulled within one on a jumper from Larson, but the score ended up being 32-29 after three with Wonders getting one final layup before the end of the frame.

Negaunee pulled within five in the fourth quarter, but was unable to regain the lead as the Mountaineers ran out the rest of the clock.

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal.net