Add two more. West Iron senior Jaclyn Waara strikes again, stealing the ball and driving in for a lay-up during the Wykons’ game against Hancock Feb. 13. She finished the game with 19 points.
IRON RIVER—That hiccup at Forest Park was ancient history last week, as West Iron County’s girls won two more games and entered the final week of the season with a 15-3 record.
Playing back-to-back West Pac Conference games for the first time this season was no challenge: The Wykons stopped Hancock at home 65-39 on Feb. 13 and rolled past Calumet 53-29 on the road. West Iron is now 5-2 in the West Pac.
If there was any drama during the Hancock game, it didn’t last long. Off the opening top, Kylee Erickson drove the right side for a basket, then hit a three from the top. Joanna Pellizzer scored off Alexis Heimerl’s pass, and West Iron led 7-0. Shannon Koski’s bucket and another Erickson three built a 14-6 lead after one quarter.
Hancock showed life briefly with a three and a two early in the second. That cut West Iron’s lead to three, but two six-point bursts boosted West Iron to a 26-14 halftime lead.
It would have been a bigger lead if the Wykons hadn’t shot just 31% in the first half. “We got a lot of high percentage shots,” said Coach Mike Dallavalle, “but we couldn’t make them. A bit of contact down low, and we weren’t finishing.”
Jaclyn Waara was limited to a pair of late lay-ups in the first half, but she broke loose in the third quarter, knocking down a pair for threes and a lay-up. Koski also had a big 3Q—she and Waara combined for 20 points in that quarter. Both converted three-point plays and benefitted from their teammates’ playmaking skills.
The Wykons led 50-29 after three and by as much as 29 in the fourth quarter. Shooting success told the tale—the Wykons went from 31% shooting in the first half to 53% after halftime. Overall: 42% (26-62) for the night.
“I thought we moved the ball, and found open people all night,” Dallavalle said. The team’s offensive funk at Forest Park continued in the first half. “We finally came around in the third quarter, and everything seemed to flow a little better.”
Waara led with 19 points, Koski scored 17, Erickson finished with 11, and Emily Aho scored six. Waara had six steals and two assists, and Erickson had three helpers. Top rebounders were Koski (seven), Heimerl (six) and Pellizzer (five).
Hancock was led by freshman Quincy Lorenzetti, who scored 16 points, including four triples. The Wykons focused their defense on Kristen Berg, who scored 12 against them Jan. 3. This time, she finished with two. “Jaclyn did a great job defending her.”
At Calumet, the Wykons got their transition game working in the first quarter, with Waara’s seven points leading them to a 14-4 lead. The defense let up in the second quarter, though, and Calumet stayed into the game with a pair of threes.
A strong third quarter put the game back in West Iron’s pocket. “We moved the ball well,” Dallavalle reported. “We found Jaclyn and Kylee open.
“We had three threes in that quarter. That was a result of everybody moving the ball well and finding a wide-open shooter.” Not everything was perfect—too many missed lay-ups in the first half, for one thing. “We did a better job in the second half, finishing at the basket.”
Waara led with 17 points (10 in the third quarter), Heimerl and Koski both scored 11, and Erickson had seven. Waara hit three triples, and Koski added two.
Kristie Lasanen led Calumet with 15 points, including two of her team’s four three-pointers. West Iron made six triples, three by Waara and two by Koski.
West Iron also ruled the backboards, with a 41-29 edge in rebounds—Heimerl had 15 boards all by herself. Pellizzer had five steals, and Waara and Erickson both had five assists.
As the district tourney nears, Dallavalle said the team will be working on rebounding—getting the ball on opponents and hustling to the ball. They will also work on attacking zone defenses.
• The Wykons visited L’Anse on Feb. 20 and play their final game at home against Florence Feb. 23. It’s your last chance to see a history-making group of seniors at the Greenlund Gym: Waara, Pellizzer, Koski, Aho, Heimerl, Taylor Miilu, Dylan Baeten and Gina Strom.
Note: The Florence game will start at 6:30 p.m.—there won’t be a JV game.
The District 95 tournament starts Monday, Feb. 27, at Norway. West Iron takes on the Knights at 6 p.m., and Iron Mountain faces Stephenson at 7:45. The Monday winners meet for the district title Feb. 29 at 7.
Bulldogs 6 8 15 10 -- 39
Wykons 14 12 24 15 -- 65
Wykons 14 11 16 12 -- 53
Cop.Kings 4 11 6 9 -- 30