Alexis Heimerl makes the most of her height as she knocks the ball away from Calumet’s Martha Anderson in action from Dec. 2. Wykon teammates nearby are Taylor Miilu (left) and Jaclyn Waara.
IRON RIVER—While they weren’t at midseason form (How could they be?), West Iron’s girls basketball team had no problems at all in their first game of the new season Dec. 2, stopping Calumet at home 62-45.
“We’ve got a lot to work on,” Coach Mike Dallavalle said after it was all over. “It was a little sloppy here and there, and we need to work on execution and patience.
“But we’ll figure it out.” He didn’t sound worried.
West Iron led from start to finish: Jaclyn Waara took the first shot of the season, a three-pointer from the left, and drained it. She went on to lead both teams with 25 points, one of three Wykons to score in double figures.
The Wykons missed their next few shots but then started one of three long scoring runs that took Calumet out of the game. The first was a 10-2 rally in the first quarter, featuring Shannon Koski’s free throws, Koski’s basket, Waara’s rebound hoop and then (after a Calumet time-out) Waara’s second three. It gave West Iron a 15-4 lead.
The Copper Kings stayed in range thanks to Kristy Lasanen, who hit a pair of threes late in the first quarter. “We pulled the press off,” said Dallavalle, “and Calumet made a nice little run there. They execute very well.”
West Iron struck back early in the second quarter with a 13-4 run. Kylee Erickson started it with a pair of baskets and Waara ended it with a rebound hoop, a triple from the top (her third) and a lay-up off a steal and pass from Joanna Pellizzer.
The Wykons now led 32-18. The only points in the final 3:20 of the half came on another Lasanen trey; it was 32-21 at the break.
Dallavalle said it was the Wykons’ first look at Calumet freshman center Ellen Twardzik, who led the Copper Kings with 11 points. “Strong, soft hands inside, good post moves—and played good defense, too. She was a handful tonight.” At halftime, he told his team to keep the ball out of her hands. “We had to pressure the guards early and force them to turn the ball over, and our guards did a good job of that.”
In the third quarter, West Iron went on its biggest run of the night, 17-0. It started with Waara baskets on an inbounds play and an outlet pass. Next, Emily Aho connected on a three-pointer from high on the right—and, moments later, another three from high on the left. “She squared up and knocked them down and gave us a big spark.”
Two Aho free throws, Erickson’s triple and a Waara hoop boosted the lead to 49-23. That wrapped up the win—Calumet didn’t get closer than 16 the rest of the night, as all the Wykons saw action before the home fans.
The coach liked the way Pellizzer, Koski and Megan Miatech guarded Calumet’s big girls inside. “It was very physical, and they did a very good job battling for rebounds.”
Three Wykons scored in double figures: Waara led with 25, Erickson added 17, and Aho had 12. Waara connected on three triples, and Erickson and Aho had two apiece.
No stats on rebounds, steals, shooting, etc.—the old laptop used to compile them during the game lost its data just after. West Iron was 15 of 19 at the free throw line; Calumet was 3 of 6.
Twardzik’s 11 led Calumet. Lasanen finished with nine (all on triples in the first half) and Martha Anderson scored eight.
• In their only game this week, the Wykons host district tourney rival Iron Mountain at home on Dec, 6. Then they get six days to prepare for another district opponent: Norway, Dec. 12 in the Knights’ den.
Looming ahead: an early season West Pac showdown at Houghton on Dec. 16.
Cop.Kings 10 11 8 16 -- 45
Wykons 19 13 17 13 -- 62