CRYSTAL FALLS—Just six days apart, the West Iron County and Forest Park junior high basketball teams went head-to-head back-to back.
When the final horn of the final game sounded, the Wykons had won both eighth grade contests, while the teams split the seventh grade tilts.
Both of the Jan. 3 games at Forest Park were very close. Both Jan. 9 games at West Iron were not so much.
On Jan. 3, the Wykon eighth graders won a hard-fought battle at Forest Park 32-30 after Forest Park’s second half rally fell just short.
The Wykons got off to a fast start, leading 12-6 after the first quarter. Steven Nelson scored six points in the first frame, and Jayce Brockhagen added four. West Iron kept going in the second and led 20-11 at halftime, after four points each by Nelson and Tyler McCarthy.
The Trojans battled back in the third quarter, outscoring WIC 11-6 to cut the lead to 26-22. Connor Bortolini led the charge with four in that quarter, and Josh Logan added a 3-pointer.
Tyler Peltoma scored four in the fourth quarter to lead FP’s final push, but Brockhagen scored all six Wykon points, helping his team to the win.
Nelson led the Wykons with 15 points, Brockhagen scored 11, and McCarthy added six. For the Trojans, Peltoma led with eight points, Bortolini had six, Logan scored five, and Dawson Ponchaud finished with four.
Kurt Anderson coaches the Trojans, and Doug Tomasoski guided the Wykons.
Earlier, FP’s seventh graders won a 26-25 squeaker over the Wykons, in a game that went back and forth.
The Trojans led 5-2 after the first quarter, but the Wykons, helped by a pair of threes by Josh Nelson, rallied to lead 10-9 at the half.
Forest Park got eight points from Max Nylund in the third quarter to go back ahead 21-15 after three, and the Trojans needed every one of them: West Iron rallied 10-5 in the fourth quarter but came up one point short.
Forest Park, coached by Bill Santilli, was led by Nylund’s 16 points and six by Riley Hendrickson—they combined for 22 of FP’s 26 points.
The Wykons, coached by Joby Sullivan, were led by Nelson’s eight points. WIC also had five each by Caden Pellizzer and Bryant Schram, four from James Swanson and three by Dawson Sundelius.
• The rival schools met again at West Iron on Jan. 9. In the eighth grade game, Steven Nelson scored 16 points, seven in the third quarter, in a 32-15 West Iron win over the Trojans.
The Wykons blanked FP 8-0 in the first quarter. The Trojans came on during the second quarter and trailed 10-5 at halftime, but WIC dominated the second half 22-10.
Besides Nelson, West Iron got nine points from Brockhagen and four from McCarthy. Bortolini led the Trojans with six points, and Josh Logan scored four.
In the seventh grade game, West Iron held the Trojans to just four points in the first half, breaking out to a 12-4 halftime lead, and the Wykons went on to a 38-20 win.
Schram was the Wykons’ high scorer with 12 points and was backed by Pellizzer’s eight and Sundelius’ six. WIC also helped itself at the free throw line, making 8 of 11. Forest Park’s top scorers were Nylund, with 12 points, and Hendrickson, with six. They had 18 of the Trojans’ 20 points.
• On Jan. 2, the Trojan seventh graders outscored North Dickinson 10-4 in the second quarter and went on to earn a 31-21 win over ND. Nylund led the Trojans with 18 points and Hendrickson added seven.
The eighth graders trailed the Nordics 16-11 at halftime but outscored them 22-10 in the second half and earned a 33-26 win. Bortolini led with eight points, Josh Logan had five, and five different Trojans scored four each: Hunter Adler, Ponchaud, Jonah Logan, Peltoma and Jacob Frisanco.