IRON RIVER—West Iron’s girls stepped on the gas in the second half Jan. 23, pulling away to earn a 59-52 win over District 95 rival Norway.
The Wykons had no trouble with North Dickinson Jan. 26, winning 72-32, and enter this week with a 10-2 record overall. They remain 2-2 in West Pac Conference action.
Led by Jaclyn Waara’s nine points, the Wykons started well against the Knights and led 15-10 after the first quarter. Norway stayed close, though, and trailed by three, 23-20, at halftime.
Coach Mike Dallavalle said Norway got half its first half points at the free throw line, a result of Wykon fouls. “We weren’t moving our feet real well defensively.
“We did a pretty good job executing, but we weren’t running the floor real well.”
At halftime, Dallavalle instructed his team to step up the pace, and the mood changed—West Iron took charge with a 21-7 third quarter, getting six points inside from Alexis Heimerl. “We kept it up-tempo,” the coach said, “and didn’t allow Norway to get into its slow-down game.”
West Iron also stepped up its defense, focusing on the Knights’ Megan Kangas. Kylee Erickson was assigned to guard Kangas and held her to nine points in the first three quarters.
When Norway shots missed, West Iron claimed most of the rebounds. The Wykons finished with 51 boards—16 by Heimerl and eight by Erickson. “We didn’t give them a lot of second chances.”
Erickson had broken her nose late in the Houghton game three nights earlier. With the Wykons ahead by 17 after three quarters, the coach sent her to the bench. “We figured if we got a big enough lead, there wasn’t any point in taking a chance on her getting her nose hit again.”
Kangas capitalized on her absence, scoring 18 points in the fourth quarter, including a trio of three-pointers late in the game. “But we were never really in danger of losing the lead,” Dallavalle said. “We just got a little too comfortable maybe.”
The Wykons also got solid defense from Joanna Pellizzer, who worked on Nicole Vanderlin. “She held her to two points. The last time we played Norway, I think Vanderlin had 16. She’s a pretty athletic girl, and Joanna shut her down.”
Waara and Koski both scored 17 points to lead West Iron, and Pellizzer added 11. Erickson dished out five assists, and Waara led with three steals.
Against a young North Dickinson team, the Wykons took care of business quickly, leading 25-6 after one quarter and 45-19 at halftime.
“We came out fast,” Dallavalle said. “The girls looked fresh, got the ball up the court quickly, found open people in transition, and we got a lot of lay-ups.”
Koski scored 10 points in the first quarter alone, and Waara added seven in the second. “Shannon was probably our steadiest player, making great decisions with the ball and being a leader on the floor.”
She made 6 of her 12 shots against Norway and was 7 for 11 against ND, “so she’s taking good, high-percentage shots. And if she doesn’t have something, she’s finding open people.”
Waara made both her three-point tries and shot 7 for 13 from the floor. “As always, she and Kylee played outstanding defense.” The Wykons also got Emily Aho back—she hit a pair of threes and helped with the rebounding.
Waara led the team with 19 points, Koski scored 16, and Miatech added 10. Pellizzer led with nine rebounds, and Koski had three steals. Erickson finished with six assists, passing to Megan Miatech and Heimerl inside—they combined for 18 points.
“Steady, all-around good teamwork. We moved the ball around well against their zone and got good, open, high-percentage shots.”
• After back-to-back road games early this week, the Wykon gals get a break until next week. The team traveled to Kingsford Jan. 30 and makes the long trip to Stephenson Jan. 31.
Next Monday, Feb. 6, the Wykons face L’Anse for the first time this season, at home. Second place in the West Pac standings should be at stake. The Purple Hornets enter this week with just one loss—to Houghton, whom they were scheduled to play again Monday night.
Knights 10 10 7 25 -- 52
Wykons 15 8 21 15 -- 59
Nordics 6 13 7 6 -- 32
Wykons 25 20 15 12 -- 72