Mountaineer lead slips away
By RON DEUTER
IRON MOUNTAIN – A nine-point halftime lead was not enough for Iron Mountain in a 45-42 Mid-Peninsula girls basketball loss here Monday evening.
“Our third quarter was the worst quarter of basketball we played this year,” Mountaineers coach John Hogberg said. “We had no effort. We weren’t going after rebounds, and we were throwing it away.”
The Mountaineers, struggling against Westwood’s pressure, managed just four third-quarter points. The Patriots chipped away on the other end, and a 3-pointer by Elizabeth Dauphinais-VanBuren a few seconds ahead of the horn put the visitors in front 35-33.
Daphnias-VanBuren led Westwood with 12 points.
“Give Iron Mountain credit,” Westwood coach Kurt Corcoran said. “They brought the intensity. We just happened to match or exceed it in the second half.”
Physical play up and down the floor kept the scoring in check as the game entered the fourth quarter. Iron Mountain was in the bonus by the end of the third quarter but failed to take advantage, going 13-for-23 at the line for the game.
Katelynn Johnson, the game’s leading scorer with 19 points, finally connected on a pair for the Mountaineers with 4:30 to play to tie the game 35-35. Two more by Johnson at 2:53 put Iron Mountain ahead.
The game approached its final minute with the Mountaineers still in front, looking to run out the clock and get fouled. But three consecutive turnovers quickly turned the tide.
Westwood’s Gabrielle Hebert, Amber Salo and Alexis Forchini each went in for fastbreak layups off the swipes.
“Our defensive pressure finally cracked them,” Corcoran said. “It’s not designed to get so many steals right away but rather to tire out your opponent.”
Iron Mountain still had a chance in the final minute, but 4-for-4 free throw shooting by jayvee call-up Hebert kept the Patriots in command. Hebert finished with eight points in her first varsity assignment.
“Gabby added new dimension to our team,” Corcoran said. “Bottom line is we made our free throws at the end.”
Sarah Pirkola added eight points for Iron Mountain. Morgan Bujold totaled seven, including a three with 40 seconds left to play that made it 41-39 Westwood ahead of Hebert’s free throws.
“We don’t cherish the ball enough,” Hogberg said. “We were a completely different team in the third quarter. We’ve had great effort all year. I don’t know what happened.”
Westwood won the jayvee game 44-33. Iron Mountain’s freshmen, behind Katie Brule’s 15 points, rolled 47-18.
Iron Mountain (1-10, 1-6) plays at Forest Park Monday.
Westwood 13 7 15 10 – 45
Iron Mountain 16 13 4 9 – 42
WESTWOOD: Dauphinais-VanBuren 12, Hebert 8, Forchini 7, Harrington 6, Salo 5, Moyle 3, Rankinen 2, Massie 2. FT: 9-17. F: 19.
IRON MOUNTAIN: Johnson 19, Pirkola 8, Bujold 7, Gerhard 6, McCole 2, Girard 1. FT: 13-23. F: 17.
3-pt FGs – WW: Forchini, Dauphinais-Van Buren. IM: Johnson (4), Bujold. Rebounding – WW: 21; IM: 17.