Patriots finish 3-day marathon on high note

NORWAY – The Westwood Patriots boys basketball team finished up a midweek marathon of games on a strong note Thursday, beating Norway 54-46.

It marked the third Mid-Peninsula Conference game in three days for the Patriots, who defeated Gwinn at home on Tuesday before losing at Manistique on Wednesday in a makeup game.

“It was an extremely close game tonight. Our kids battled,” Westwood coach Chad Hewitt said. “This was Game 3 of three nights in a row. We knew it was going to be a grind.”

The first half, like the rest of the game, was back and forth. Westwood took a run late in the second quarter and, with a halfcourt shot as time expired by senior Luke Gray, the Patriots held a 22-14 lead.

Norway (8-7, 4-5 M-PC) battled back in the second half as the fourth quarter took on a chippy and intense flavor.

Despite shooting 19 of 58 (32 percent) from the field, Norway stayed neck-and-neck with the Patriots, who shot 17 of 38 (44 percent).

Yet Westwood’s momentum established in the first half carried them through to the end. While Norway was able to tie the game, the Knights never took control.

“Westwood outhustled us and outrebounded us. I made a big mistake (Wednesday) having a light practice,” Norway coach Ben Leiker said. “I thought we needed rest because we played the night before, but I was completely wrong. We played the first half with no energy. That’s my fault.”

Gray finished with 19 points for Westwood (7-8, 4-7 M-PC). Teammate Connor Hanlon also scored 19, while Ryan Stanaway added 12 and led the Patriots with 15 of the Patriots’ 33 rebounds.

Josh Plante led Norway with 11 points. Teammate Connor Ortman had six points to go with a team-high seven rebounds.

Gray played every minute of the Patriots’ three games this week, including the OT against Norway.

“My floor general, Luke Gray, that kid – with three games and an overtime – played a hundred minutes,” Hewitt said. “He never got a break the last three games. He’s a warrior and he took it well.

“I was very proud of my guys tonight.”

Westwood took the JV contest, 35-29.