IRON RIVER — West Iron’s girls couldn’t escape Kingsford’s press in the second half here Jan. 28 and lost its only game last week 43-41 in the last minute.
The Wykons’ Jan. 29 game against District 95 rival Stephenson was postponed until Feb. 21 by more icy weather. WIC enters this week with a 6-7 overall record. They are 1-3 in West Pac Conference games.
Great start: Coach Mike Dallavalle said his team played great defense all night and had a sharp first half on offense. “We outrebounded them,” he said, “and defensively we were contesting shots well and helping well on their penetraton.”
WIC held Kingsford to five points in the first quarter and scored 12—Kylee Erickson and Alexi Golfis both sank three-pointers to lead the home team.
In the second quarter, Sierra Rasmussen made a pair of baskets, and Golfis hit another three—she made three triples and scored a team-high 13 points for the night. West Iron led 23-13 at halftime.
Things changed in the second half when Kingsford started pressing and forcing turnovers. “They put on full-court pressure man-to-man,” Dallavalle said. “They double-teamed Kylee to make sure she didn’t get the ball much.”
For a while, the Wykons struggled on inbounds plays. “We had people in the wrong places and had to take a time-out to reorganize.”
Out of focus: The Wykons did better against the Flivver press for a while and still led 32-37 after three quarters, “but in the fourth quarter we seemed to lose focus. We took some ill-advised shots when we had the lead and really lost confidence in our ball-handling.”
The Flivvers came on strong and outscored West Iron 16-9 in the final frame, with Carlee Benzie scoring six of her game-high 16 and Sam Fleming adding five of her eight. For West Iron, Golfis sank her third three and Emilie Christensen hit two baskets, but they were the only Wykons to score in the last eight minutes.
Clinging to its lead with two minutes left, Dallavalle called time and tried to run a stall. But Kingsford forced a turnover and went downcourt to go ahead.
Nothing’s free: WIC never got to the free throw line in the fourth quarter and only attempted four freebies all night (all by Megan Miatech, who was 3 of 4). “Kingsford only had one team foul with three minutes to go,” Dallavalle noted. West Iron didn’t get into the bonus all night.
After winning twice the week before, “We played a very solid game,” Dallavalle said. “Both defensively and offensively. We got the ball inside to Sierra and Emmy and Meg.
“It’s just that the pressure in the second half physically and mentally wore on us. We need to learn how to handle that. When you have a lead, these girls have to figure out how to close it out.
“We put ourselves in a good position to win, but Kingsford outplayed us in the second half.”
Numbers: WIC team: 17-43 FG (40%), 4-9 3’s (44%), 3-4 FT (75%), 35 rebounds, 25 turnovers. Kingsford team: 17-54 FG (31%), 2-11 3’s (18%), 7-13 FT (54%), 31 rebs, 16 turnovers.
WIC stats: Alexi Golfis, 13 points, 3x3, Emilie Christensen, 8 pts, 7 rebs, 3 asts, 3 stls; Sierra Rasmussen, 8 pts; Megan Miatech, 5 pts, 7 rebs, 4 asts; Kylee Erickson, 5 pts, 4 asts. Kingsford stats: Carlee Benzie, 16 pts, 6 stls; Dam Fleming, 8 pts, 3 asts; A. Larson, 6 pts, 8 rebs, 3 stls; Courtney Qualley, 6 pts, 3 stls.
Flivvers 5 8 14 16 -- 43
Wykons 12 11 9 9 -- 41
Coming up: The Wykons visited L’Anse on Feb. 4. They host Forest Park on Feb. 7 and then play three games in four days: Feb. 11, at Hancock; Feb. 12, at Westwood; and Feb. 14, home vs. Calumet.