IRON RIVER—Yet another round of winter weather put a premature end to West Iron’s girls basketball season late last week.
After the Wykons lost 65-40 at L’Anse on Feb. 17, their Feb. 20 regular season finale at Stephenson was canceled due to a snowstorm. (The game was originally scheduled Jan. 28, then moved back a month because of subzero weather—to no avail, as it turned out.)
The Wykons finish the regular season 5-13 overall and 0-8 in West Pac Conference games. The West Pac is one tough conference this year: three of its five teams got votes in the U.P. Class ABC poll last week.
One of them is L’Anse, which battling Houghton for the conference title. Against WIC, the Purple Hornets started breaking away late in the first quarter and held a 20-9 lead after one. Kelsey Ross scored 10 in the first quarter and Valerie Rajala added four.
Ross, Rajala and Madi Swanson are the team’s “big three.” “They’re all seniors,” said Coach Joe Serbentas, “and they’ve been playing on the varsity for four years.”
The Wykons changed the script in the second and third quarters. Using a 3-2 zone on defense that limited L’Anse’s outside shooting and forced turnovers, West Iron played even up with L’Anse, taking good shots. With Megan Miatech and Alexis Golfis leading the way, the Wykons cut the Hornets’ lead to 40-33 after three.
On offense, the Wykons protected the ball and stood up to the press L’Anse used all night. They were within five with about six minutes left.
“We were right within striking range late in the game,” Serbentas said, “and then they went on a 10-0 run in a matter of about two minutes.”
L’Anse switched to a zone defense, increased its pressure, forced several WIC turnovers and cashed in with lay-ups. Swanson and Ross both hit threes to build a 15-point lead and put the game out of reach.
Miatech led the Wykons with 14 points, and Golfis added 11. Both girls hit a pair of 3-pointers. Miatech led with 11 rebounds, and Cassi Pellizzer had eight (five offensive boards).
Ross scored 20 to lead L’Anse (including four triples), and Swanson had 13. But Rajala, who scored 15 at West Iron on Feb. 3, was held to six.
Wykons 9 9 15 7 -- 40
P.Hornets 20 8 12 25 -- 65
• Due to a rescheduled boys game, the three-team Class C District 95 girls tournament at Norway High School has been pushed back two days.
West Iron and Iron Mountain will open the tournament Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 6 p.m. The winner faces Norway in the championship game Friday, Feb. 28, also at 6.
The district winner moves on to the Class C regional tourney at Escanaba starting March 4.