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Badgers rally past Knights, 38-33



(Sean Chase/Daily News photo)
Norway sophomore forward Paytan Carlson (23) and Niagara’s Mallory Sanicki (5) position for a rebound Thursday at Norway High School. At right is Norway’s Lauren Adams (3).

NORWAY — Holding an 11 point lead at halftime, the Norway girls varsity basketball team looked like it would breeze to a victory over Niagara on Thursday at Norway High School.

However, the Badgers (6-4, 5-2) found an offensive rhythm in the second half and pulled out a 38-33 non-conference road win over the Knights (2-3, 1-1).

“(It was) a learning experience and they passed the test,” Niagara coach Karl Lamoreaux said. “That’s the first time they’ve been down, I think we were down 11 at halftime. And I wasn’t overly pleased with their energy level. Made that switch to man-to-man defense, and it kind of sparked them, got them moving.

“I thought they played a lot better in the second half.”

After securing a big first half lead, the defensive switch caused issues for Norway.

“It was their man defense,” Knights coach Brian Adams said. “They went into a man defense. There’s physical contact with that. We’ve got girls right now that are shying away from that. When they played zone, we were comfortable in the first half. That’s why we had a lead.”

Niagara opened the scoring as junior Mallory Sanicki and sophomore Alivia Kleikamp pushed it to a 7-2 lead with 1:56 to go in the first quarter.

“They had a huge height advantage, so our goal was to front the post with weak side help,” Coach Adams said. “Make it a hard entry pass and if (Kleikamp) does catch it. She turns and there is another body there. I thought we did OK at that. … We’re young, we’ll just keep working.”

Kleikamp scored five points in the first half.

Norway took a quick timeout and then sophomore Lauren Adams went to work. She recorded five points as the Knights went into the second quarter down 9-7.

Senior Victoria Cooper scored a layup 45 seconds into the second and tied the game at 9.

Junior Abby Richter drilled a deep 2-pointer from the right wing and Mary Cavagnetto added a three as Norway took a 14-9 lead.

Lauren Adams recorded seven points as time wound down and the Knights took an 11-point lead into the locker room.

Niagara cut the lead down to three points at the end of the third quarter.

Both teams would trade the lead in the fourth, but it was Bristol Sanicki who would put the Badgers ahead for good when she drained a 3-pointer from the left corner as she was fouled. Bristol Sanicki made the ensuing free throw and Niagara took a 33-30 lead.

“She’s a great shooter, but if she misses a couple shots, she doesn’t want to shoot anymore,” Lamoreaux said. “And she was standing right in front of me, I said, ‘Catch and shoot, catch and shoot.’ She finally did that and got in a rhythm and made a couple of shots.”

Norway tried to rally but its shots weren’t falling and the Badgers held on for the 38-33 win.

“What I thought happened in the end was this was a game of us being soft,” Coach Adams said. “We don’t box out, that’s a physical contact thing. We don’t drive the lane. They had one foul in the second half. … We take nothing but jump shots. We don’t attack the hoop.”

Although things looked bleak at halftime, Niagara found a way to win, which Lamoreaux attributes to them maturing.

“I just told them, ‘I’m happy, they’re starting to mature,” Lamoreaux said. “We couldn’t have come back from that deficit the first or second game of the year. But, now they’re not so young. They’re getting experience. We’re halfway through a season. They’re starting to respond to adversity and that was a big thing for them tonight, to overcome that.”

After a loss like that, Coach Adams wants to work on his team’s physicality and that starts at practice.

“(Friday) will be a two and a half hour practice and it’s going to be physical,” Adams added. “I’m going to come up with drills where it’s nothing but contact and they have to get used to it. They have to like it. If you’re going to play basketball, you’ve got to like contact. Right now, we don’t.”

Mallory Sanicki and Kleikamp each recorded 14 points to lead the Badgers.

Niagara also received contributions from Bristol Sanicki (6 points) and Sydney Swanson (4 points).

Lauren Adams was Norway’s leading scorer, finishing with 15 points.

The Knights also received contributions from Richter (4 points), Cavagnetto (10 points), Anna Falk (2 points) and Cooper (2 points).

Niagara is back in action at home on Thursday as they face off with Three Lakes at 3:30 p.m.

Norway is back on Jan. 2 when it heads to Carney for a matchup with the Wolves at 6:15 p.m.


SURING, Wis. — The Florence girls varsity basketball team continued its strong start on Thursday as it blew by Suring for a 66-29 win on the road.

The Ladycats are now 7-3 overall and 1-1 in the Northern Lakes Conference.

Florence recorded 39 points in the first half while the Eagles only notched 11 points.

Junior Kamdan Johnson paced the Ladycats with 18 points.

Florence also received contributions from Bella Millan (16 points), Vicki Peterson (2 points), Naomi Millan (5 points), CeCe Mills (12 points), Abby Novak (2 points), Bryn Sullivan (9 points), Abby Price (2 points).

The Ladycats return to action on Jan. 2 when they head to Crivitz for a 7:30 p.m. tip.

Broncos 59 Mountaineers 37

HARRIS — Lauren Zawada led three Bark-River Harris scorers in double figures with 21 points Thursday evening to lead the Broncos past visiting Iron Mountain 59-37.

Nina Bower tallied 18 and Mckenzie Hoffmeyer added 15 for the Broncos, who’ve won five of their first six games.

IM coach Karen Ellis said the final score did not reflect the intensity of the game.

“I’m very happy with the grit the girls played with on defense,” Ellis said. “Bark River is a very strong team, and we knew going in it was going to be tough, both mentally and physically.”

The Broncos grabbed an 18-7 lead after the first quarter via eight points from Hoffmeyer and six each by Bower and Zawada.

Bower than rang up 10 points in the second quarter to give her team a 34-19 edge.

The Mountaineers (1-4) got going a bit offensively in the second period as Emily Copley hit a 3-pointer and scored five points, while Ashlyn Bal also knocked down a triple and Gerilis Sampoll and Bella Pickett added two points each.

Macy Linsenbigler recorded five points in the third quarter when Iron Mountain battled evenly with BR-H. Bal then swished two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, but Zawada and Hoffmeyer kept the Mountaineers from charging back with eight and five points each.

Linsenbigler and Bal led IM with 11 points each. Copley scored seven while Sampoll and Pickett logged four a piece.

“Our shooting percentage isn’t quite where we want it to be, but we moved the ball much better tonight,” Ellis said.

The Mountaineers are off until Tuesday, Jan. 2, when they entertain Houghton (4-1) at Mountaineer Gym.

Sports writer Jerry DeRoche contributed.

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