Kylee Erickson drives to the basket during West Iron’s season opener at Iron Mountain on Dec. 4. Erickson scored 24 points in the 55-37 win.
IRON RIVER—A long, long shot at the buzzer missed, and West Iron’s girls basketball team absorbed its first loss of the new season, 44-42, at Calumet Dec. 7.
Earlier last week, Kylee Erickson’s 24 points powered the Wykons to a 55-37 win at Iron Mountain in their season opener Dec. 4. The Wykons are now 1-1 overall, 0-1 in the West Pac Conference.
At Iron Mountain: The Wykons didn’t have a game in the season’s first week, so they were raring to go Dec. 4 at Iron Mountain, scoring the first 18 points of the game, including a pair of Erickson threes over the Mountaineers’ zone.
Coach Mike Dallavalle said the threes forced Iron Mountain to come out to defend the arc, giving West Iron some good looks inside. The Wykons led 19-2 after the first quarter, in which Erickson scored 10 points and Megan Miatech added four.
In the last three quarters, scoring was nearly even—WIC outscored IM 36-35—but that was just fine after the Wykons’ big early lead. Erickson connected for two more triples in the third quarter and finished with five treys overall.
Her 24 points and was backed up by Emilie Christensen and Miatech (eight points each) and Alexis Golfis (six). Coach Dallavalle said Christensen ran the outlet lanes well downcourt, and she, Miatech and Sierra Rasmussen “did a great job inside, bothering shots and cleaning up rebounds.”
Dallavalle said he liked how his sophomores played in their first varsity game, playing hard defense and sharing the ball on offense.
Numbers: Team stats: WIC, 10-13 FTs; 17 fouls. IM, 10-17 FTs; 12 fouls.
Player stats: Kylee Erickson, 24 pts, 5x3; Emilie Christensen, 8 pts; Megan Miatech, 8 pts; Alexis Golfis, 6 pts. Rebs, asts stls not available. IM: Alex Pirkola, 14 pts; S.Girard, 8 pts; F. McCole, 7 pts.
Wykons 19 12 14 10 -- 55
M’tneers 2 14 12 9 -- 37
At Calumet, the game was nip and tuck most of the night. The Copper Kings led 21-20 at halftime, but West Iron got six points from Cassilyn Pellizzer in the third quarter and led 32-30 after three.
Calumet went back in front by four with 2½ minutes left. Christy Lasanen’s three followed by Terra Erkkila’s basket with less than a minute left put the Copper Kings in front. Lexi Rowe added another basket for a three-point lead.
Down by two, the Wykons had a final chance in the dying seconds, but Erickson’s 25-foot shot at the buzzer bounced off the glass, and Calumet had the win.
It was a story of missed chances in the final minutes, the coach said. The Wykons missed a layup, made just one of two crucial free throws and didn’t execute the screen they discussed in their last time-out, forcing Erickson to put up the long shot as time ran out.
West Iron struggled against Calumet’s zone defense in the first half, he said, and had problems executing its offense. But the Wykons moved the ball much better in the second half, showing improved patience and teamwork.
Three Wykons scored in double figures: Erickson had 12 and Pellizzer and Miatech added 10 each. Pellizzer led the team with eight in the second half, and Miatech had six after the break. Christensen scored all her six points in the second quarter.
The Wykons, said the coach, are playing aggressive help defense, “which should keep us competitive in our games this year.” But on offense, the girls are still learning to work together. “We have quite a bit of polishing to do there and a lot of learning to trust each other if we are going to continue to improve.”
Numbers: Team stats: WIC, 11-16 FTs; 17 fouls. Cal, 7-18 FTs; 16 fouls.
Player stats: Erickson, 12 pts, 1x3; Cassilyn Pellizzer, 10 pts; Miatech, 10 pts; Christensen, 6 pts. Rebs, asts, stls not available. Cal: Lexi Rowe, 13 pts; Kristy Lasanen, 9 pts; Terilynne Budreau, 8 pts.
Wykons 7 13 12 10 -- 42
C.Kings 8 13 9 14 -- 44
Coming up: The Wykons play their first two home games this week, Dec. 10 vs. Norway and Dec. 14 vs. Houghton. They visit Kingsford on Dec. 17.