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Ortman reaches 1,000 points in Knights’ win



Norway senior Alex Ortman (4) floats towards the rim for a layup on Thursday against West Iron County at Norway High School. Ortman recorded his 1,000th career point in the 66-21 Knights’ win. (Sean Chase/Daily News photo)

NORWAY — As fans filed into the gym at Norway High School on Thursday for a battle between the Knights boys varsity basketball team and West Iron County, it was hard to ignore the excitement in the air.

“I thought we came out with a lot of energy,” Norway head coach Jeff Gallino said. “We were able to jump on them early because we were hustling on defense. It’s good to see them come out with that energy.”

With a cutout of senior Alex Ortman staring at a countdown featuring the number 11, the points remaining until he crossed the 1,000 point mark, hanging on the wall, the Knights (11-3, 2-0) rolled to a 66-21 victory over the Wykons (1-14, 1-7).

“Obviously, it wasn’t the outcome that we wanted but we’re going to learn from it, we’re going to get better from it,” WIC head coach Cade Contreras said. “Congratulations to Alex Ortman on scoring 1,000. That was a pretty cool way to do it.”

Prior to the game, Ortman, his dad, Steve, and his brother, Connor, seemingly predicted how he would etch his name in the record books.

“My dad, my brother and I were talking about it at our house,” Ortman said. “He was like, ‘Imagine if you got a dunk for your 1,000th point.’

While Ortman thought that would be a cool way to cap the occasion, then the chance presented itself less than a minute into the second quarter.

After intercepting a pass, Ortman accelerated into the open court with an empty path to the hoop. As soon as he got two steps into the paint, Ortman gathered the ball in his right hand and threw down a tomahawk dunk.

“Then it happened to be reality, so it was very awesome,” Ortman said. “I was just hoping that I don’t miss it. But once it went in, I had to go crazy. It was such a great experience.”

“I’m super proud of Alex (Ortman),” Coach Gallino said. “It was a great moment and to get it on a dunk, that’s pretty impressive.”

While Ortman was keeping track of his progress toward the milestone, he is relieved to turn winning into his sole focus.

“It was a huge relief, now I can just worry about winning as a team and contributing with my teammates and my coaches,” Ortman said. “Now that it’s out of the way, I can focus and breathe.”

Utilizing its patented press defense, the Knights took control early and rode that momentum to a 21-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. Ortman recorded seven points in the opening frame while junior Mason Trudeau added four.

“We were making the extra pass,” Gallino said. “I thought Cole (Baij) and Ian (Popp) had some really nice passes early on.

“We moved the ball against their zone pretty well.”

Norway kept the ball moving in the second and it was more of the same as the lead ballooned to 34 points at halftime.

Ortman added 11 points to his total in the quarter while Trudeau recorded seven more points.

The Wykons didn’t let up in the second half and junior Elijah Oberlin led the charge, scoring four points in the third.

However, it wasn’t enough to slow the Knights as junior Bryce Adams drilled back-to-back 3-pointers and Coach Gallino sent in his reserves.

Norway rolled to the 66-21 win as the clock ran throughout the fourth quarter.

Ortman finished with 24 points, leading all scorers. He is currently at 1,013 points, leaving him 19 points from passing his brother, Connor, on Norway’s all-time list.

“My brother and I have a great bond, so it’s awesome that we’re right next to each other on the list,” Ortman said.

The Knights finished 7 for 8 from the free throw line while receiving contributions from Popp (4 points), Adams (10 points), Cole Baij (2 points), Trudeau (17 points), AJ Gallino (7 points), Maddex Burklund (2 points) and Anthony Pineda (2 points).

Oberlin led the Wykons with 10 points and shot 4 for 7 from the charity stripe.

WIC also received contributions from Jasiah Parker (2 points), Abel Lundin (2 points), Keenan Dobson-Donati (2 points), Nathan Camps (3 points) and Eric Casari (2 points)

Next, the Wykons head to Negaunee on Monday to battle the Miners at 6:15 p.m. CST.

Norway, the No. 5 team in Division 4 according to the UPSSA, is in Kingsford, the No. 2 team in Division 1-3, on Tuesday for a 6:30 p.m.

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