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Looking up: Norway cager takes game to new heights


Looking up: Norway cager takes game to new heights

Norway junior forward Andi Carlson (30) powers her way for a shot against Iron Mountain during the 2021-22 season. Carlson has come a long way on the basketball court since her middle school days. From not making a big impact on her middle-school teams, the 5-foot-9-inch native of Foster City has become one of the best players in the Skyline Central Conference and was recently recognized with special mention on the UPSSA Division 4 all-U.P. team. (Dennis Mansfield/Daily News photo)

NORWAY — Norway junior Andi Carlson is a bit of a late bloomer, basketball-wise. She says she wasn’t a “great player” in middle school and didn’t really even like the game at that point.

After one complete season on the junior varsity team, Carlson was promoted to the Knights’ varsity squad during her sophomore year in 2020-21 and began to showcase her promise to Skyline Central Conference coaches, who gave her honorable mention on the all-league team.

The 5-foot-9-inch Carlson took another leap forward in her recently completed junior season. She was selected to the SCC first team and given special mention on the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association Division 4 all-U.P. team after averaging 12 points per game overall (14 points per game in the SCC), 13 rebounds and two blocks for the Knights, who finished 11-10 overall.

The daughter of Madge and Rodney Carlson Jr. of Foster City, she attended the North Dickinson County School District through the sixth grade and recently sat down with The Daily News to discuss her improvement on the court, as well as other subjects.

Q: What did you think of your team’s performance this year?

Looking up: Norway cager takes game to new heights

Andi Carlson (30) battles for a rebound during a game against visiting Munising on Jan. 7. Carlson was Norway’s top player this season, averaging 12 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks per game. The junior led her team in scoring 12 times, including nine of the last 11, and seems poised to make a larger impact on her team and around the U.P. next year in her final season. (Dennis Mansfield/Daily News photo)

A: The beginning of the year was a struggle, and then there were some games where we pulled it together. I expected us to be a little better than we were this year. We were inconsistent. We had our off games, all of us.

Q: How did you feel about your season individually?

A: I could have done better.

Q: How so?

A: I don’t know, some games I just kind of just threw everything away … like I tried, but I just wasn’t all there. I struggled, but then other games I had good games.

Q: Was that mental?

A: It was mental, but I know that I need to put more work in this summer for my senior season.

Q: What kind of work are you going to put in?

A: Go to the gym, work on post moves, shooting. I want to become a better outside shooter. And I want to work a lot more on my ballhandling because I’m not really used to it.

Q: Are you ready to work on the parts of the game that are difficult or uncomfortable to you?

A: I want that because I want to become a better player. Like, as an example, ballhandling. That’s going to be hard for me, but I want to work on it because I want to be better for next year.

Q: Are you going to play AAU basketball this season?

A: I was going to on the Gladstone team but the spot was taken. I was really looking forward to it. I actually texted my coach because he asked me if I would want to join and I told him yes. And then I talked to my parents about it and they thought it was a great idea. And then by the time I got back to him, there were two girls from Baraga that had already taken the spots.

Q: Were you disappointed?

A: Yeah, I was upset.

Q: How do you think your game has improved since you started playing on the varsity team?

A: I think I’ve gotten stronger, a lot more confident. I’ve been able to score a lot more.

Q: Do you play other sports?

A: I played softball, but this year I’m not. I kind of just want to focus on basketball.

Q: Do you have ambitions to play in college?

A: Oh yeah, I would love to.

Q: What do you think of your team’s prospects next year?

A: I don’t think we’re going to have very many girls from JV, so it’s kind of just going to be my senior group. And I think that we’re capable of doing good. We just need to pull ourselves together and play more as a team.

Q: Who is your biggest rival?

A: Iron Mountain’s always been a rival.

Q: For you personally?

A: No, that would be North Dickinson.

Q: What is your favorite memory in basketball so far?

A: This year when we beat North Dickinson (a 40-38 overtime win on Jan. 21) because it was unexpected. They were way up there, we weren’t doing good all season and then we came out of nowhere and we beat them. That was really exciting. I think it was our best win. Everyone was really excited after that game.

Q: What do you do with your free time other than playing basketball?

A: I just love being outside. I love to swim, I love to fish, I love to hunt.

Q: So you’re a Yooper Girl …

A: Yeah. (laughs)

Q: What is your favorite food?

A: I like raspberries, always have.

Q: What foods do you find the most objectionable?

A: I will not eat onions or tomatoes.

Q: Are you a fussy eater?

A: No, I’ll try about anything.

Q: Do you have a favorite ethnic food?

A: I like Thai food.

Q: Do you believe in UFOs?

A: Yeah. I just feel that there’s all this talk about aliens and everything. I believe in it. I believe in the existence.

Q: What is one thing about high-school life you would change?

A: Probably just the groups of different kids. Like you’ll see one group of kids and then another. They just judge each other. I don’t like cliquey. I just think everyone should just be able to talk and not judge.

Q: What is your favorite part of high-school life?

A: My friends. I love being around my friends because I live 40 minutes away. I still live in Foster City and it’s a long drive every day.

Q: How long could you go without your phone?

A: Honestly, I could do it. I’d rather not have it on me when I’m doing other things.

Q: Do you have any post-high school plans yet?

A: I would love to (play basketball). I’m interested in forensic science. But I don’t have any set plans yet. I’m still looking to see what I think would interest me.

Jerry DeRoche can be reached at 906-774-2772, ext. 247, or at jderoche@ironmountaindailynews.com.

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