West Iron’s Tyler Stafford torques his body around to keep the ball in play during the Wykons’ recent game with Forest Park. The Trojans’ Ben Painter (10) and Tyler Lovato are also on the scene.
IRON RIVER—After getting buried by three-pointers at Hancock during a 78-55 loss Jan. 24, West Iron’s boys basketball team battled back from behind on the road Jan. 27 to defeat Norway 53-51.
The split record for the week means the Wykons enter this week with a 10-3 overall record, 4-2 in the West Pac Conference.
Between the two games, word came that junior Kahree Beaudrie would be “out indefinitely” for unspecified reasons.
“Despite who’s in and who’s out,” said Coach Dan Schive, “the basic fundamental for the rest of the season is: Whoever suits up for the game, we’re going 110% and we’re going to play hard.
“If we lose, we’re not going to lose because we didn’t play hard and give 110%--we just got beat by a better team.”
At Hancock, the Bulldog artillery fired away from the start with deadly accuracy. “They were 5-for-5 from the three-point line in the first quarter,” Schive said.
“Realistically, by the time I got to the point where I called time-out, it was 20-4 already, and it was a fight from there.”
West Iron made a couple runs on Hancock after that, but the coach said his team doesn’t have enough players or energy to come back from so far behind.
The Wykons got their offense on track in the second quarter, but Hancock led 41-21 at halftime. In the second half, they pulled within 15. “But they shot the ball so well. If I was guessing, they probably shot 60, 65% from the floor for the game. How are you going to beat that?
“They were way better than we were that night. They just outplayed us, outshot us, outhustled us--out-everythinged us.”
Hancock had three players scoring 20 or more points. Shayne Wendling led with 27 (three triples), Luke Paul had 21 (seven threes), and Alex Almquist added 23 (8 of 9 free throws).
For the Wykons, Beaudrie and Caleb Pellizzer had 12 points each, and Austin Waara scored eight. Aren Newby and Tyler Stafford scored seven each, and Adam Newby scored six.
Tyler Stafford had six rebounds, Waara had five assists, and Beaudrie was credited with three steals and three blocks.
The Wykons struggled again at the free throw line, making just 4 of 10. “We were terrible at the free throw line,” the coach conceded.
At Norway, with Beaudrie now out of action, the Wykons shot the ball well early in the game but were sloppy on ball-handling “till we got our feet under us.”
Ryan Richard got the Wykons a solid start with seven points in the first quarter. West Iron led 14-8 after one quarter.
Norway fought back into the game with a 9-2 run after both Richard and Stafford needed a breather in the second quarter. The Knights led by one, 25-24, at halftime.
The Knights expanded their lead to four, 40-36, after three quarters. Earth in the fourth, Schive said, Isaac Bray hit a couple of long triples to give Norway a nine-point lead, 45-36, and the Wykons called time with 6:28 left.
When action resumed, West Iron went to a 2-3 zone and pressed Norway. Both Waara and Adam Newby got key steals. Richard got the offense back in gear with seven points, and Waara scored five, along with a key assist to Newby.
The game was tied at 49 and 51 down the stretch, but free throws by Waara and Richard in the final minute gave West Iron the win.
Richard led the Wykons with 21 points. Pellizzer scored 12, and Waara added 10. John Grayvold led Norway with 21 points (17 in the first half), and Isaac Bray had 13.
With Beaudrie now out of action, the Wykon lineup was scrambled for that game, “We struggled a little on offense with not being as cohesive as we should have been,” Schive explained. “But when we ran what we were supposed to run, it worked out really well.”
The coach’s stats said the Wykons shot 22 of 43 (51%) from the floor. “We missed a couple of bunnies. We missed a couple open jumpers in the lane.
“I’m happy with the fact that when we got down, we fought back and didn’t lay down. We have to continue to get better on offense with the way we want to ruin it—better passing, better screening.”
• In their only game this week, the Wykons host a powerful Iron Mountain squad Jan. 31. After that, the team gets a week to prepare for Kingsford’s visit on Feb. 7.
That will be the Wykons’ next-to-last home game this season.
Wykons 4 17 18 16 -- 55
Bulldogs 21 20 15 24 -- 78
Wykons 14 10 12 17 -- 53
Knights 8 17 15 11 -- 51