IRON RIVER— After an unexpected (and highly unwelcome) 12-day break in its schedule, West Iron’s boys team closed out its regular season at Ishpeming Feb. 26, falling 68-42 to the Hematities.
It means West Iron finishes its regular season 3-15 overall and 0-7 in the West Pac Conference. But now that the post-season has arrived, the numbers are reset: Everyone is 0-0.
Idle since their Feb. 14 loss at L’Anse, the Wykons took a while to get into the flow of play at Ishpeming—a fatal flaw, because the Hematites (ranked third in last week’s U.P. Class ABC poll) came out on fire, breaking away 27-7 in the first quarter, powered by three 3-pointers by Alex Briones and two more by Bobbie Zhulke.
“We were down 24-4,” said Coach Dan Schive. “It was ugly. They [Ishpeming] didn’t do much wrong other than miss some free throws.”
Schive said the Wykons took good shots on their first half dozen possessions. “We just didn’t make them,” he said. “And if you don’t make shots and they’re knocking everything down, you’re going to be down big.”
One week before, the Wykons had two home games cancelled because of the latest round of subzero weather. “It’s hard to get your legs back when you haven’t played enough.”
(It also cost West Iron in a different way—the athletic department lost gate receipts from two home games.)
West Iron played even-up with Ishpeming in the second quarter, with Tylor Capadagli scoring six points and Aren Newby hitting a three.
But Ishpeming still led 39-20 at halftime and extinguished any flickering upset hopes with a 13-6 third quarter, as David DeCaire knocking down a pair of treys.
In the fourth frame, Brock Hopkins scored eight for WIC, including two 3-pointers. Anthony Rule made another three. Hopkins led the team with 14 points, Adam Newby scored eight, and Andy Ridolphi and Capadagli both finished with six.
For Ishpeming, Briones scored 16, DeCaire had eight and five other players scored either seven or six. That’s balance.
The Wykons was perfect at the line, but only got three freebies. Schive said his team needs to play more aggressively to draw more fouls (along with avoiding slow starts and turnovers).
“We didn’t make shots. They outhustled us. They looked like they had been playing, and we looked like we had been practicing.
“That’s not good. At the end of the year, you’ve got to be playing.”
Hematites 27 12 13 16 -- 68
Wykons 7 13 6 16 -- 42
• The Wykons hosted Iron Mountain March 3 in the opener of the three-team Class C District 95 tournament at the Greenlund Gym. The winner faces Norway for the district title on Wednesday, March 5, at 6 p.m. The district winner advances to the regional tournament next week at Marquette.
It’s a district tourney that any of the three teams can win. “Everybody’s sub-.500,” said Schive. “So let’s go win.”