U.P. No. 1 Mountaineers cruise past Modeltowners’ boys, 76-37
By ADAM NIEMI
Iron Mountain Daily News
IRON MOUNTAIN — Iron Mountain settled into its prolific offense early and cruised to a 76-37 win over Gwinn to clinch the Mid-Peninsula Conference on Friday.
The Mountaineers at not only undefeated at 15-0, but ranked at the No. 1 team in the Upper Peninsula in Divisions 1-3.
They were led by Foster Wonders’ 27 points while Marcus Johnson had a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds to go with five assists.
Mastin Love and Austin Forbes led Gwinn with eight and seven points, respectively.
The Modeltowners (5-10) worked to open lanes and kick-out options, but a lack of execution stalled scoring opportunities throughout.
“That’s not exactly where it was supposed to be, of course,” Gwinn head coach Jim Finkbeiner said of the ball being passed around the 3-point line. “That was part of our problem because we weren’t doing the things we were supposed to be doing.
“What we tried to do is using Tucker (Taylor) or another player, when we’re making good cuts, it frees up guys and if it doesn’t, Tucker’s free.
“We can get him in open space and of course he garners a lot of attention once that ball is in his hands. That frees up guys for lanes to the basket or spot-up shots.”
The Mountaineers jumped all over Gwinn’s lack of offensive execution by converting their chances on the other end. Iron Mountain shot 31 of 56 on the night including 8 of 17 from long range.
But the other key was Iron Mountain’s defensive performance, doubling Gwinn’s offensive execution struggles by switching off effectively on defense, breaking up passes and rebounding. The Mountaineers had 14 steals including five by Johnson.
Iron Mountain went on a run in the second quarter, outscoring Gwinn 18-7 for a 38-19 halftime lead.
Finkbeiner said Iron Mountain’s supporting cast around Wonders and Johnson, including Jaden Vicenzi (10 points), Charlie Gerhard (seven points) and the bench put even more pressure on the Modeltowners’ defense.
“When those complementary guys hit shots, now we have to get away from just guarding two guys,” Finkbeiner said. “They do a really good job of it. They pass the ball really nice. They were very unselfish getting guys easy looks for layups.”
The Iron Mountain JV won 49-25.
Gwinn hosts Manistique on Tuesday.