MUNISING - Senior Gage Webster scored 22 points, including 11 on 17 free throw attempts, to help Munising get past Superior Central, 52-34, on Thursday to earn a split of the series between the two Alger County teams.
The win also lifted the Mustangs into a virtual three-way tie for first place in the Central Upper Peninsula Conference at 7-2, the same record as Carney-Nadeau with North Central at 6-1. SC fell a half-game back of that trio at 6-2.
Munising (12-4 overall) was sent to the free-throw line 29 times in the fourth quarter after visiting there just seven times in the first three periods combined.
"They tried to extend the game," MHS coach Dan Waterman said. "This was a really tight game most of the way.
"I don't know what it is, but this rivalry seems to bring out the best in both teams defensively - and the worst offensively. It was hard to score for about 2 1/2 quarters."
Munising led 10-4, 19-14 and 29-23 after each of the first three quarters before the parade at the line started. The Mustangs made enough free throws - 22 of 36 - to keep the Cougars' strategy from working.
Senior Michael Mannisto added 14 points and a few other things to the winning effort, according to his coach.
"Michael was really aggressive, then he hit some shots," Waterman said. "And he played well defensively against Trevor Maki."
The SC senior, usually one of his team's top scorers, was limited to five points.
The Cougars (11-5) were led by senior Matt Verbrigghe with 13 points and senior Bryce Richard with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Munising also won the JV game, 52-51.
At Westwood, the Patriots outscored Norway 27-17 in the second half to win for the second time this season.
Justin Luke and Josh Richards tossed in 10 points apiece as the Patriots, who also have two wins in their past three games, improved to 2-13 overall and 2-7 in the Mid-Peninsula Conference.
"We only gave up five points in the third quarter," Westwood head coach Ryan Reichel said. "We tried to limit (Norway's offensive) touches in the first three minutes of the quarter.
"The kids were focused in the second half."
The Knights (3-11, 2-7), who were outscored 13-2 at the free-throw line, got 10 points from Austin Grayvold.
At Ishpeming, the Hematites overcame a 10-2 first quarter deficit to claim a non-conference victory over visiting Escanaba on Thursday night. The Hematites (12-6 overall) outscored the Eskymos (4-12) by a 27-17 count in the second half.
Alesha O'Brien paced Ishpeming with 11 points and six rebounds. Teammate Jessica Spencer also hauled in six boards.
"It was Senior Night and we started off slow," IHS head coach Mark Dellangelo said. "But we weathered the storm and were able to come back.
"I was happy with our effort after that first quarter. We also turned in some good free throw shooting (17 of 24 for 78 percent)."
Michelle LaFave led Escanaba with 18 points and 13 rebounds).
Escanaba won the JV game, 38-29.