Prep boys basketball: Briones scores 14 points in ‘boring’ Mid-Peninsula Conference victory at Norway

NORWAY – Ishpeming opened up a double-digit lead in the second half and turned back Norway 54-41 in a lackluster Mid-Peninsula Conference boys basketball game Monday.

The Hematites, carving out a 26-19 halftime advantage, scored the first five points of the second half to take control.

“It was kind of like a boring game on both sides, typical for maybe a Monday night away game,” Ishpeming coach Jeff Olson said. “It didn’t seem like we were into a lot of things mentally.

“We weren’t sharp offensively. Defensively, we were letting guys get open and not recovering quick enough.”

Alex Briones paced the Hematites with 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. The balanced attack also featured Ozzy Corp with 14 points and Derek DeCaire with 12.

Norway, which was coming off a 24-point performance against Iron Mountain, reached that figure midway through the third quarter Monday.

“We definitely rebounded better and boxed out better,” Norway coach Ben Leiker said. “We moved the ball better.

“But everybody looks better when you’re making a few shots.”

Austin Grayvold canned a team-high 14 points for the Knights. Nick Bal laced four first-half 3-pointers and finished with 12. Jordan Mauro sank three triples for nine points.

“It looks like they paid a little more attention to (Bal),” Leiker said. “But then we had Mauro open and he can shoot, too.”

Norway netted eight triples in the game, five in the first half.

“We just kept an eye on (Bal),” Olson said. “That’s one thing we worked on was not giving them uncontested shots (in the second half). They knocked some down and kept it close for awhile.

“Fortunately, we were able to pass the ball around well enough to find some guys open and score.”

Briones, a 6-foot-2 senior, directs the Hematites from the point.

“Briones is a good player and sees the court well,” Leiker said. “He’s been playing guard since middle school. Sometimes I’m happy he’s out there. Physically, he wouldn’t be a fun guy to guard on the block.”

Ishpeming shows just two losses in the league, both to Negaunee and most recently at home on Friday.

“Ishpeming is a nice team and athletic,” Leiker said. “They work the ball pretty well against the zone. Defensively they did a nice job.”

Ishpeming (11-3, 6-2) hosts Marquette tonight and Norway (5-10, 2-7) entertains Westwood Thursday.

Ishpeming won the JV game, 47-28, and freshman contest, 35-22.