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Boys Basketball: Houghton cruises past Wykons

West Iron County's Nathan Thomson (00) blocks a shot by Houghton's Pablo Salgado (22) as teammate Justin Nelson (42) also defends on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, in Houghton, Mich. (Adam Niemi/The Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — What a difference a day makes. Or rather, make that a night.

After struggling shooting the basketball the night before against Kingsford in a four-point defeat, the Houghton Gremlins came out all guns blazing Tuesday night versus West Iron County in a 68-42 win in boys basketball play at the Houghton Gym.

“We talked about what’s our identity this season,” Houghton head coach Jared Lawson said. “Do we want to be a defensive team, and pick our shots. Or do we want to be the opposite of that and just play hard on every possession.”I think we found an identity tonight and we’ll see how that works out.”

The 1-2 Orange and Black punch of Brad Simonsen and Pablo Salgado sliced up the Wykons for 57 points in the lopsided game.

West Iron head coach Dan Schive said the red-hot shooting by the Gremlins made it easy to evaluate.

“When the other team shoots like they did tonight, you play the game, take your beating and get on the bus,” Schive said. “There’s nothing else to say.”

Simonsen — coming off a subpar game versus Kingsford — knocked down eight triples on the way to a game-high 35 points.

Lawson said his senior ace has the green light on any shot.

“If people realized how much practice Brad puts in on his shooting, they would know why we let him shoot from anywhere on the floor,” the HHS coach noted.

But Salgado, using his assortment of tricky drives, hurt the Wykons as well with 22 points and team-best 10 rebounds.

“Pablo has a lot of that European game in the way he plays,” Lawson said. “When both of them are going like that … it makes us tough to defend.”

With a 23-2 lead after one quarter, the Gremlins were never seriously threatened.

The Wykons did get 12 points from 6-foot-8 Justin Nelson in the second frame to reduce the lead to 44-21 at the intermission.

But Simonsen rifled in a trio of long triples in the third quarter and Salgado added two trifectas to pump up the lead.

Lawson emptied his bench afterward and the 4-2 winners coasted home.

Nelson paced the 3-2 Wykons with 19 points and 13 boards.

Houghton, in the midst of a tough part of the schedule, hosts unbeaten Negaunee Thursday.

“Negaunee might be as good a team as Iron Mountain,” Lawson said. “We’ll have to buckle it up.”

West Iron 2 19 6 15 — 42

Houghton 21 16 17 12 — 68

WEST IRON (42): Dobson 5, Nelson 19, Ballenger 5, Williams 8, Thomson 3, Anderson 1, Turbessi 1. FT: 4-8. Rebounds 24 (Nelson 13). F: 11. Fouled out: None. 3-point FG: Nelson 3, Willaims 2, Ballenger 1, Thomson 1.

HOUGHTON (68): Jurva 2, Salgado 22, Simonsen 35, Primeau 3, Johnson 3, Oldt 2. FT: 6-10. Rebounds: 29 (Salgado 10). F: 17. Fouled out: None. 3-point FG: Simonsen 8, Salgado 3, Primeau 1.

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