Mountaineers jump on Hematites early for win

IRON MOUNTAIN – Iron Mountain came out firing and took down visiting Ishpeming, 62-44, in Mid-Peninsula Conference boys basketball Monday.

“Holy cow,” Mountaineers coach Bucky Johnson said. “We got off to a fantastic start.”

The Mountaineers (13-4 overall, 9-2 M-PC) meshed five first-quarter triples and sprinted to a 21-8 lead. The difference was 33-13 at halftime.

“They had a little pep in their step and shot the lights out,” Hematites coach John Tiziani said.

The Mountaineers’ Luke Zambon and Taylor Huotari each drained 21 points. Point guard Gerry Pirkola contributed 10 points and eight assists.

“I don’t know if it was their fantastic shooting or a lack of our defense on the two guys we knew we needed to contain,” Tiziani said.

“They were killers for us and easily dominated the game. We had no one who could match them.”

Zambon zapped Ishpeming for 22 points in a 44-37 Mountaineer victory earlier this month. Johnson anticipated seeing a 1-2-2 zone again, but Ishpeming (6-9, 4-6) came out Monday with a triangle-and-two.

“Iron Mountain is a good team with a nice point guard and two very good scorers on the wings,” Tiziani said. “I thought we would be up to the challenge.

“It’s very unfortunate coming off a big win against Gwinn.”

Joe Lyle’s 12 points topped the Hematites, who closed the gap to 16 points in the third quarter.

Iron Mountain, with tournament time around the corner, extended its winning streak to six games.

“You want to gain momentum going into the tournament and this is a good time to do that,” Johnson said. “We just want to keep improving each night when we go out.

“This was a good team win and everybody contributed.”

Ishpeming claimed the junior varsity contest, 69-18.