IRON RIVER—Finally. The monkey is gone. The West Iron boys’ 11-game losing streak is over.
It ended here Jan. 30 when the Wykons took charge of a close game in the fourth quarter, outscoring Florence 21-5 to earn a 57-42 win. That was the Wykons’ first win since the season opener, way back on Dec. 9.
One night earlier, the Wykons didn’t show much fight against the team they will face in the district tourney opener on March 3. West Iron played passive against Iron Mountain and lost 51-33.
West Iron enters this week with a 2-11 record overall and remains 0-5 in the West Pac Conference.
The Iron Mountain game was played at the Greenlund Gym, which hosts the three-team Class C District 95 tourney. Same floor, same opponent. Talk about a bad preview!
IM had the upper hand from the start, scoring the first seven points. Adam Newby scored twice early in the second quarter, getting West Iron within one, but the Mountaineers came back with a 15-4 burst, led by a pair of threes and two baskets by Jacob Thomann. They led 26-14 at halftime.
“We started out in a zone,” said Coach Dan Schive, “and it looked like we were in concrete shoes.”
The Wykons got no closer than eight in the second half. IM won going away, with a 15-6 fourth quarter.
The Mountaineers had a noticeable height advantage, and didn’t have much trouble drawing fouls on offense. West Iron did—the Wykons attempted just one free throw all night.
Schive was biting his tongue after the game. “We had 10 rebounds and one free throw. We gave them 13 free throws and we shot one.
“We were not aggressive enough offensively or defensively.”
Newby led the Wykons with 11 points. Ridolphi, with six, was the only other Wykon who scored more than four. For IM, Mark Beauchamp and Thomann both scored 11 points, and Cole Rossato added 10.
M’tneers 11 15 10 15 -- 51
Wykons 6 8 13 6 -- 33
The Florence game started like the IM match—the Bobcats outscored West Iron 9-2 in the opening minutes.
But this time the Wykons got on track on baskets by Brock Hopkins, Newby and Ridolphi. Late hoops by Brandon Olson and Tylor Capadagli capped the 13-2 run and put West Iron ahead 15-11 after one.
West Iron kept the offense going. Newby and Nick Helgemo each scored twice for a nine-point lead, but a pair of Bobcat 3-pointers by Marshall Kelly highlighted a 13-3 Florence rally that put the Cats ahead 29-28 at halftime.
A three by Joe Pisoni and a two by Ridolphi tied the game in the third frame. The Wykons finally went back in front early in the fourth on back-to-back Newby buckets.
Free throws—yes, West Iron was drawing fouls for once—kept the Wykons ahead, and Ridolphi put the win away with three straight baskets off passes inside from Newby, Hopkins and Olson.
Helping off the bench were Olson, Capadagli, Nick Helgemo and Michael Barker. “The bench brought a ton of energy and a ton of hustle,” Schive said.
Against Florence, the Wykons attempted 15 free throws. “That’s as many free throws as we’ve shot in the last three games—combined.
“But that’s [from] taking it to the rim, being aggressive and not being afraid to get bumped and banged a little bit.”
Newby led the Wykons with 17 points, Ridolphi had 13 (eight in the fourth quarter), Hopkins had 11, and Helgemo had seven. For Florence, 6-8 Connor Beaster led with 17.
Newby had nine rebounds, Ridolphi had 10 rebounds and four steals. The team finished with 13 assists; Hopkins had four helpers, and Olson assisted on three.
Coach Schive was especially pleased that his team only had seven turnovers and shot 39% from the floor.
Bobcats 11 18 8 5 -- 42
Wykons 15 13 8 21 -- 57
• The Wykons host Kingsford on Feb. 4 and start a three-game road trip at Calumet on Feb. 7, followed by Escanaba on Feb. 11 and L’Anse on Feb. 14.