IRON RIVER—After earning a berth in the A division championship games of the Michigan-Wisconsin junior high tournament, West Iron’s seventh and eighth grade boys basketball teams both had to wait 10 days to play for the championships.
Both teams finished runner-up at the tourney after losing at Norway on Jan. 31. Iron Mountain won the seventh grade game 39-27 and Norway captured the eighth grade title 32-19.
Both teams won their semifinal games Jan. 21. The title games were originally set for Jan. 27, but last week’s arctic winds canceled school early last week and pushed the title games back to Jan. 30. Then a snowstorm delayed them one more day.
The Wykon seventh graders faced Iron Mountain, which moved out to a 11-5 first quarter lead and was in front 22-11 at halftime. IM used a tight zone defense that dared the Wykons to fire from outside and also made the most of second-chance shots.
The game’s momentum swung around completely in the third quarter. At one end, WIC’s Bryant Schram became a rebounding machine. IM started missing shots, Schram seemed to pull in most of the rebounds and passed upcourt to teammates Josh Nelson, Zach Quintero and James Swanson, who finished at the other end. In all, the Wykons outscored IM 14-2 in the third and took a 25-24 lead into the fourth quarter.
But momentum jumped back to IM’s side in the fourth quarter. Schram was called for his third and fourth fouls right
away and headed for the bench. The Mountaineers got their walnut-like zone back in place while scoring the first 13 points of the fourth quarter. Schram returned but picked up his fifth foul right away. Tyler Beauchamp led IM’s fourth quarter breakaway with 11 of his game-high 17 points.
For West Iron, Nelson, Caden Pellizzer and Swanson each scored six points, Dawson Sundelius scored five (before leaving with an injury late in the first half) and Quintero scored four. Joby Sullivan coached the WIC seventh graders.
In the eighth grade game, Norway’s aggressive, pressuring style was a challenge the Wykons couldn’t solve, and the Knights’ 11-0 run helped them to a 15-8 halftime lead.
Jayce Brockhagen and Austin Giuliani gave the Wykons hope with back-to-back buckets early in the second half, but the Knights kept on coming, outscoring West Iron 13-4 in the third quarter. Strong rebounding and second-chance points helped Norway throughout the game, and the Wykons never could turn the momentum around.
Steven Nelson’s six points led West Iron, and Brockhagen and Giuliani each scored four. For Norway, Connor Ortman and Josh Plante were high scorers with eight apiece. Doug Tomasoski coached the WIC eighth graders.
• Forest Park’s seventh grade team earned a B Division title Jan. 30 with a 29-22 win over Kingsford Gold.
On offense, it was a two-man show, with Max Nylund (20) and Riley Hendrickson (9) combining to score all Forest Park’s points.
The other Trojans made themselves felt on defense. The Golds led 6-3 after the first quarter, but the Trojans stifled their offense 11-3 in the second quarter and led 14-9 at halftime. Nylund scored eight in that quarter, and Hendrickson connected on a three.
The Trojans outscored the Golds 15-13 in the second half to claim the title for Coach Bill Santilli.