Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Midgets tower over cold Red Devils

IRONWOOD -  Hurley utilized its size advantage and held Ironwood's shooters in check to beat its rival 56-34 Friday night.

One of the biggest crowds of the season was on hand for the contest, but the Midgets took them out of it early on, building leads of 7-0, 14-3 and then 29-11 at halftime.

The Red Devils didn't have an answer for Hurley's bigs, especially James Sukanen, who scored 22 points. Ironwood had hoped to shoot well to help combat that deficiency, but they shot just 27 percent from behind the arc and 20 percent from inside it during the first half.

"They didn't have anyone over 6 feet, we had a couple horses inside that made some plays," Hurley coach Mike Swartz said. "I was more worried about them and their shooting. I was hoping our bigs could get out and close out on the shooters. James, Tandrell (Foster), Chris Rye, all of our big guys did a really nice job of that. I was really impressed with how they closed out and kept everything in front of them for the most part. It's a great win for us."

The inexperienced Devils have been competitive this season, even against some very good competition. But teams with a size advantage have been toughest for them to solve.

"We were concerned with their size and we had reason to be," Ironwood coach Pete Lewinski said. "Overall, they're one of the biggest teams we've faced this year and probably will face. We had trouble with their height with Sukanen and Tandrell comes in and Rye and (Kris) Bluse. We're not a big team. We tried to block out the best we could and we couldn't contain the big man Sukanen."

The Midgets took a 14-3 lead with six points from Sukanen and 3s from Isaac DeCarlo and Kohl Manzanares.

Ironwood hit consecutive 3s, by Ryan Sobolewski and Desmond Sackmann, to narrow the gap to 14-9.

But Hurley outscored Ironwood 15-2 the rest of the half and its halftime lead of 29-11 was just like the Midgets, too big to overcome.

"You score 11 points in a half, you're not going to win many games," Lewinski said.

The Midgets' start was key as the heavy favorite coming into a packed rival's gym.

"The start was fantastic," Swartz said. "I really liked our energy. Defensively we were really moving, helping early, getting out on the shooters, we did a nice job of contesting shots and boarding the basketball. Very happy with our effort to start the game.

Ironwood needed its shooting to be on Friday night and it wasn't. The Devils shot 3 of 11 from 3 in the first half and just 1 of 5 on other shots.

"We're not really an inside team with our height," Lewinski said. "I think we're better shooters than we showed. Maybe Hurley's D had something to do with that. We didn't shoot the ball well. We couldn't contend with their height. I think it comes down to that from our vantage point. It's disappointing when your shots aren't falling and your opponents are increasing the lead in a rivalry game like this. Give the Midgets credit, they got after us."

Isaac DeCarlo scored 14 points for Hurley.

Desmond Sackmann scored 11 points to lead Ironwood and Ryan Sobolewski had 10.

"Luke Hewitt's been carrying us most of the year scoring wise and he had a tough night," Lewinski said. "Manzanares was really dogging him out on top on the perimeter. Luke struggled tonight, but he's been our top player all year. I told him come back for Tuesday, don't worry about that, you have some games like that.

"Some of our kids didn't quit tonight. Shane Buckley finished strong, Ryan Sobolewski finished strong."

Both teams were without starters as Ironwood was missing Zach Combs (ankle) and Hurley was without Carson Thewis (foot).

Hurley (8-8, 7-4) goes to Mellen Tuesday. Ironwood (5-9, 5-7) hosts Bayfield Tuesday.

Hurley - Isaac DeCarlo 14, Josh Quello 3, Kohl Manzanares 3, Dante Bender 2, Tandrell Foster 7, James Sukanen 22, Kris Bluse 2, Chris Rye 3. FTs: 3-8. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: DeCarlo 2, Quello 1, Manzanares 1, Foster 1.

Ironwood - Luke Hewitt 1, Desmond Sackmann 11, Ryan Sobolewski 10, Shane Buckley 2, Eric Rantanen 2, Nathan Dray 6Ian Averitt 2. FTs: 5-12. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: Sackmann 3, Sobolewski 2, Dray 2.

Hurley 29 56

Ironwood 11 34

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