IRON RIVER— West Iron’s girls varsity team enjoyed its most successful week of the season last week, earning solid wins at home over Norway (53-31 on Jan. 20) at North Dickinson (52-39 on Jan. 23).
It gives the Wykons positive momentum going into an extremely difficult stretch of their schedule. The nonconference wins boost their record to 4-7 overall. They remain 0-4 in the West Pac standings.
Against Norway, West Iron never trailed but was in a tight game in the first half. The Wykons led 10-8 after one and 16-14 at halftime.
The second half was totally different: Starting with a 10-3 run in the first three minutes, West Iron outpointed Norway 37-17. Megan Miatech had two baskets in that early burst, and Alexis Golfis, Lizzi Pellizzer and Sydnie Mazurek scored once each.
Miatech scored five in the third quarter and Cassilyn Pellizzer added four. In the fourth frame, Pellizzer led the way with eight of her game-high 14 points.
“I just told them to keep the pedal to the metal—I don’t want to slow down,” said Coach Joe Serbentas. “And I told them our defense has been phenomenal—let’s keep it up in the second half.”
He cited Pellizzer’s work against Jordan Kraemer. “She [Cassi] has had to play the tallest girl on every team, and when you go against Calumet or Houghton, those girls are tough players to guard.” Kramer was held to nine points.
Meanwhile the Wykons’ guards took away Rachel Conery’s 3-point threat. Conery scored just nine, and the Knights made only a pair of threes.
Serbentas also talked about the Wykons’ “phenomenal” rebounding. “We’ve been really focusing on boxing out and leaping. We play all these teams with tall players, so we have to get accustomed to rebounding well. It showed today.” Miatech, Cassi Pellizzer and Mazurek usually held Norway to just one shot.
Ten different girls scored for WIC: Cassi Pellizzer led with 14, Miatech scored 11 and Lizzi Pellizzer had seven. WIC’s bench players again got a lot of minutes. “I think it’s paying dividends; they don’t look nervous when they come into the game.”
Knights 8 6 9 8 -- 31
Wykons 10 6 17 20 -- 53
• Against the Nordics, two early baskets by Miatech boosted the Wykons to an early 10-2 lead, and the lead was nine late in the second quarter—but then the Nordics hit a two and a three, getting within four (24-20) at halftime.
At halftime, Serbentas reminded his team about the missed assignments that led to the late ND points.
West Iron got those points back and more with a 7-0 rally to start the second half, moving ahead 31-20 and 34-25 after three.
After ND got within six, West Iron broke it open with an 8-0 burst to lead 42-28. They kept a double digit lead the rest of the night.
Serbentas wasn’t satisfied with the Nordics scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter; WIC not boxing out well enough; and free throw shooting barely over 50%.
“Fortunately, we were able to play good-enough defense and made a couple of runs to keep the lead around 10 points.”
On the good side, the Wykons pushed the ball upcourt quickly, giving forwards some open shots.
Like most Wykon opponents, ND focused its defense on Miatech, opening the door for Golfis, Cassi Pellizzer and Erin Angeli. Golfis scored seven in the second half, and Angeli had nine.
WIC’s balanced scoring had Angeli leading with 11 points, Cassi Pellizzer with 10, Golfis and Miatech both with nine, and Lizzi Pellizzer with seven. It was the Wykons’ fourth straight game with 50 or more points.
Nordics 8 12 5 14 -- 39
Wtkons 16 8 10 18 -- 52
• Now the road gets dangerous. After a Jan. 27 game at Kingsford, the Wykons face three consecutive teams ranked on the U.P. sportswriters poll: at Stephenson (No. 2 in Class D) on Jan. 28; home vs. L’Anse (fourth in Class ABC; unbeaten in the West Pac) on Feb. 3; and at Forest Park (unbeaten; No. 1 in Class D) on Feb. 6.
“It’s going to be a tough stretch coming up,” admitted the coach.