IRON RIVER—After going 11 games and nearly two months without a victory, West Iron’s boys team won its second in a row here Feb. 4, rallying past Kingsford 51-47, outscoring the Flivvers 7-0 in the final minutes to nail down the victory.
The baby win streak ended at Calumet Feb. 7—West Iron got outpointed 13-5 in the fourth quarter and lost 48-41. The Wykons enter this week 3-12 overall, 0-6 in the West Pac.
Amazing, said Coach Dan Schive, how consecutive wins can lift the spirits of a struggling team. “At this point,” he said, “we just needed to win a couple, and we need to keep winning.”
The Kingsford game was close nearly all the way. Schive said he told his team just before tipoff not to put itself in a 10-2 hole right away. “So we went out and put ourselves in an 8-0 hole.”
But the Wykons caught fire, helped by four 3-pointers—two by Brock Hopkins and one each by Ryan Rogers and Adam Newby. “We found a little confidence, and we were ready to roll.”
From there, it was close. The Flivvers led by three at halftime and took a 39-37 lead into the fourth quarter. Jack Glodowski scored three straight baskets in the third frame, but West Iron got the points back.
A change in Andy Ridolphi’s defense on Glodowski forced Kingsford to adjust. The Wykons also moved their guards further out. “We had to jack up the defensive intensity,” schive said.
Kingsford still led 47-44 in the last two minutes, but Rogers’ 3-pointer tied it at 47-all. Next, Ridolphi’s jump hook put West Iron up by two (49-47). Brandon Olson forced a key turnover, and Hopkins’ free throws added the final points.
At that point, the Wykons had three team fouls to give, so Schive used an aggressive full-court defense. Rogers, Newby and Olson stymied Kingsford for about 20 seconds. “It was nice to finish on a 7-0 run.”
Several reserves—Anthony Rule, Michael Barker, Olson—played big roles in the second half. “It helped a lot, because it made it harder for them to get into a rhythm.”
Also helping were seven 3-pointers in nine attempts. Rogers nailed three, and Hopkins made two. It’s important for the Wykons to get better on outside shots: If they can, it would loosen the tight zone defenses they have seen most of the season.
“We have shot so much at the end of practice,” Schive said. “Maybe it’s paying off.”
Hopkins led the Wykons with 14 points, Adam Newby scored 12, and Rogers scored 11. For Kingsford, Glodowski scored 18.
“I feel like we’re getting closer to where we can be, and it doesn’t feel like I have so many big things to fix. But winning makes it easier to fix everything, anyway. Kids come in ready to practice. They’re happier, it’s easier to teach them something. Winning cures everything.”
Flivvers 17 8 14 8 -- 47
Wykons 14 8 15 14 -- 51
At Calumet, things fell apart in the fourth quarter. The Wykons led by one with four minutes to play when they went through “eight empty possessions” when they didn’t score. Calumet took the lead, and the Wykons had to start fouling with 1½ minutes left. “That was the game.”
Turnovers hurt—especially good passes that weren’t caught. The Wykons also missed two late layups. “We were right there. We were playing pretty good.”
Schice said the Wykons used a diamond-and-one defense to limit the Kings’ Paul Torala—and Adam Newby held him to nine points until Torala feasted on five free throws in the final minutes.
Torala was backed by Jake Pieti, who scored six of his 14 after moving to high post in the fourth quarter. He and Torala each had 14 to lead Calumet.
“Again, we held another team down in the 40s.” But the Wykons only scored 41. Ridolphi led WIC with 12 points, Newby and Rogers scored 10 each, and Hopkins had seven. The rest of the team: two.
Once again, the Wykons were strangers to the free throw line: Newby was 2 for 2 in the first quarter, and no Wykon shot freebies after that. “We’ve got to be more aggressive going to the hole.”
Wykons 7 15 14 5 -- 41
C.Kings 13 11 11 13 -- 48
• The Wykons are on the road this week, challenging two tough foes: Feb. 11 at Escanaba and Feb. 14 at L’Anse.
The team is home twice next week, hosting Norway on Feb. 17 (rescheduled from Jan. 7) and Hancock on Feb. 21.