Fire one! Forest Park’s Austin Snell fires a three-point shot from the corner, as West Iron’s Adam Newby hustles over to defend. At left, West Iron’s Tyler Stafford (20) and Kahree Beaudrie and the Trojans’ L.J. Burns battle for position.
IRON RIVER—After a 13-1 third quarter rally followed by a 20-9 fourth quarter, West Iron County fans celebrated their boys team’s 67-51 win over Forest Park here Jan. 19.
But until the Wykons took charge, Forest Park gave them all they could handle in the first half and a few minutes into the second.
Earlier last week, the Wykons defeated Houghton 52-46. The team is now 9-2 overall and 4-1 in the West Pac Conference. The game with FP ended a four-game home stand with the Wykons going 3-1.
“Now it gets tough,” Coach Dan Schive said after the game. This week, the Wykons enter the toughest stretch of their season.
Against the Trojans, West Iron got away to a 11-4 start, but Jake Divine’s eight points in the first kept Forest Park close; West Iron led 17-14 after one.
Adam Newby’s two and Austin Waara’s three built a 22-14 WIC lead early in the second, but L.J. Burns’ basket and Austin Snell’s three got FP right back into it.
The game upshifted to a breakneck pace, and the Trojans drew closer. Pellizzer scored twice and passed to Waara for another, but Ben Painter’s follow shot and Snell’s jumper countered.
Just before halftime, Burns hit consecutive three-pointers for the Trojans’ first lead. Pellizzer scored on a rebound just before halftime, cutting FP’s lead to 31-30.
“We just got too fast in the first half,” said Coach Dan Schive. “It’s the same thing we did wrong against Calumet—when we go bad, we get too fast.” At halftime, he and JV Coach Kevin Leonoff stressed that they have to tone it down a bit: The more haste, the less speed.
Burns hit another three to start the second half, and Painter and Divine baskets put the Trojans ahead by six, 40-34. But momentum jumped ship after Waara buried a three. Pellizzer drove the lane for two; FP called time, ahead 40-39.
Newby’s free throw tied it, and another Waara three put West Iron in front. Newby and Pellizzer free throws put West Iron up 47-41 after three. At the other end, Trojan shots just weren’t falling.
That changed when Burns hit a two and three early in the fourth quarter, but two baskets each by Kahree Beaudrie and Tyler Stafford kept West Iron rolling. A 10-0 Wykon run included 6 for 6 at the free throw line.
The exhausting second quarter may have helped West Iron, because Forest Park seemed to get a little tired in the second half—their shooting was off. “They were pushing, too,” noted the Wykons’ coach.
Pellizzer led the Wykons with 22 points, and Beaudrie and Waara both struck for 15. Coach Schive seemed just as pleased with the 15 points from the combo of Stafford and Adam and Aran Newby. “I will take that all the time!”
Against Houghton, West Iron moved ahead during the second quarter and led by as much as 12. The Gremlins rallied late in the third quarter, though, and stayed close until the end.
The first quarter was close and exciting, with five lead changes—Pellizzer’s basket at the end put West Iron ahead 13-12.
The Wykons opened some ground early in the second frame on baskets by Aren Newby and Stafford, Beaudrie’s three and Waara’s drive-in hoop. West Iron led 23-16 at halftime.
Two threes by Beaudrie and one by Waara built up a 12-point lead early in the third quarter. The Gremlins came back with a 13-3 run to end the quarter and tied it early in the fourth, on hoops by David Baillargeon and Ryan LaBerge.
That’s as close as the Gremlins got. Pellizzer’s three-point play, the third Waara-to-Stafford basket of the half and Beaudrie’s fourth triple of the night kept West Iron in front.
West Iron struggled at the free throw line, with just 5 of 17 in the first 31½ minutes. But in the last 20 seconds, Waara and Aren Newby were 4 for 4.
The Wykons were 53% (19 of 36) from the field, and Schive said his team is becoming more unselfish on offense, with good ball movement.
Beaudrie led with 18 points, including four threes and a two-handed jam between several players. Stafford struck for 12, Pellizzer put in 10, and Waara was good for seven. Baillargeon and Saari both scored 13 for Houghton.
Stafford “is doing his job really well right now,” with eight rebounds. Pellizzer had nine boards, and Beaudrie had six. Waara led with four assists, and Pellizzer had three.
Alex Ralston is still out with an ankle injury, but the Wykons’ inside game will get a boost this week as Ryan Richard returns.
• Now it gets interesting. The Wykons visit Hancock for the first time on Jan. 24, then travel to District 95 rival Norway on Jan. 27.
Back home for another D95 foe on Jan. 31: Iron Mountain, which was unbeaten until losing to Kingsford last week. Next: Kingsford, on Feb. 7.
“Hancock is tough. Norway’s not a pushover. Iron Mountain is brutal. Kingsford’s going to be hard,” He rattled off each game left on the schedule, concluding, “Every game is going to be a war.
“But if we play correctly and take care of the ball, we can beat anybody.”
Gremlins 12 4 17 13 -- 46
Wykons 13 10 12 17 -- 52
Trojans 14 17 10 9 -- 51
Wykons 17 13 17 20 -- 67