West Iron retains ‘C’ district crown
By BURT ANGELI
IRON MOUNTAIN – West Iron County, putting up another “enter at your own risk” warning on the defensive side, stopped Iron Mountain 45-30 in the Class C District 95 girls basketball final Wednesday.
The Wykons’ man-to-man defense bottled up Stephenson in the district semifinal Monday and Iron Mountain met with the same results.
“Defensively, we’ve been pretty solid all season with the exception of a few games,” Wykons coach Mike Dallavalle said. “This is probably a new level of intensity.
“We don’t get into this much foul trouble, so obviously the aggressiveness and adrenaline is a little bit high there.”
West Iron, pressuring every shot in the paint, picked up 20 fouls and sent Iron Mountain to the free throw line for 24 shots. But the Mountaineers missed 10 free throws and made just seven of 44 field goals in the game.
“We got some good looks. We got some good shots. We couldn’t the ball in the basket,” Mountaineers coach John Hogberg said. “We put the ball in the basket we stay with them and it would be a close game all the way through.
“I knew if we got down by 10 or 12 it would be a struggle, and that’s what happened.”
Iron Mountain’s Katelynn Johnson, who took a hard hit and went to the floor late in the first half, scored 11 of her game-high 14 points in the second half. She sat out the final minute of the first half and some time in the second.
“We ran our offense and got every shot we wanted,” Hogberg said. “They just weren’t going in.”
Kylee Erickson drew the assignment of defending Johnson.
“Kylee is our best defender,” Dallavalle said of the senior guard who also contributed 10 points and four steals. “Kylee keeps her girls in front of her and takes away anything easy.
“We knew we had to shut down Katelynn tonight and it was unfortunate that she got hurt. It would have been a different game with her in there. She’s a big piece of that offense.”
Abby Gerhard, with seven points and six rebounds, followed Johnson in Mountaineer scoring. Alena Herman also grabbed eight rebounds.
“My starters did a great job of knowing where Katelynn and Sarah Pirkola were,” Dallavalle said. “We knew they could knock down threes.”
West Iron shut down inside penetration with 5-foot-11 Emilie Christensen (9 rebounds), 5-9 Megan Miatech (12 points, 3 steals), 6-1 Sierra Rasmussen, 5-8 Mallory Tomasoski and 5-9 Brittanie Barry.
“We picked up some fouls but at least we didn’t give up anything easy,” Dallavalle said. “When girls did get in foul trouble, girls would come off the bench and match the intensity of the game.
“It was much needed and they really stuck together defensively.”
Iron Mountain’s coach cited West Iron’s size as a factor, especially with Miatech going for eight points in the third quarter when the Wykons improved the halftime spread from 23-13 to 41-23 after three quarters.
“We played good defense,” said Hogberg, more than satisfied that Erickson wound up with 10 points. “If you would have told me before the game that we held Erickson to 10 points, I said we would have won.
“Their big girls got in foul trouble and that’s what we wanted to do. We did everything defensively. We just couldn’t score.”
Sophomore guard Alexis Golfis (11 points, five rebounds, 4 assists) joined Miatech and Erickson in the Wykons’ double-digit scoring department. Cassilyn Pellizzer was also active defensively until drawing five fouls.
“They’re a good team and this is their third time,” said Hogberg, noting the Wykons won the two previous district finals match-ups with the Mountaineers. “We’ll find a way to beat them one of these years.”
West Iron County (12-10) will meet Houghton or L’Anse in the Class C regional at Marquette. Game time is 7 p.m. (Central time) Tuesday, March 5.
Iron Mountain closes out the season with a 5-16 record.
“The seniors did a great job,” Hogberg said. “I’m proud of the girls. They always play hard.”
West Iron 9 14 18 4 – 45
Iron Mountain 3 10 10 7 – 30
WEST IRON COUNTY: Golfis 11, Christensen 6, Erickson 10, Rasmussen 2, Pellizzer 4, Miatech 12. FT: 1-3. F: 20. Fouled out: Pellizzer (1:53).
IRON MOUNTAIN: Johnson 14, Pirkola 4, Brule 3, Herman 2, Gerhard 7. FT: 14-24. F: 10.
3-point FG: Johnson 2, Golfis 3, Erickson. FG shooting: West Iron 20-56, Iron Mountain 7-44. Rebounding: Iron Mountain 43 (Gerhard 8, Herman 8), West Iron 36 (Christensen 9).