Big things expected from Wykon girls team
The West Iron County Wykons figure to be one of the top teams in the U.P. this season as they return their top six scorers from last year’s 18-5 district championship squad.
IRON RIVER—Gone are the “young Wykons” as West Iron County girls basketball coach Eric Shamion calls them – the precociously talented team of last year which hadn’t really announced its presence on the U.P. girls basketball landscape yet.
Heading into the 2018-19 season, any chance of being overlooked or thought of as too inexperienced to contend is over for Shamion’s crew. With their top six players returning, the Wykons figure to be one of the top girls basketball teams in the U.P. this year, one season after they finished 18-5, won a district championship and fell within a whisker of advancing to a regional championship game.
So, a significant portion of Shamion’s job in his second season at the helm of the West Iron program will be to deal with what figures to be massive expectations.
“Expectations are high,” Shamion said. “The girls’ expectations and my expectations, they’re all high. But we’ve just got to be cautious of overconfidence, and that’s reminded to them often in practice. But we’re excited about this year. We have a quality team, a very quality team.”
The Wykons get the opportunity to prove that beginning with their season opener at Iron Mountain on Dec. 3.
To contend with the attention that figures to come and still play each game possession-by-possession will require a maturity that was sometimes absent last season. While the Wykons ran up a big win total a year ago, their play was uneven at times.
One of the ways that manifested was in high turnover numbers – more than 19 per game.
“For us to get better, we need to improve on the turnovers,” Shamion said. “I believe that has to almost be cut in half and I think we can get there. I’m confident in that.”
If they do cut the ballhandling mistakes in half and rebound more consistently, a fully healthy Wykon team will be a difficult opponent for any team on the schedule. Because, at least in sheer talent, athleticism and size, West Iron is lacking nothing.
Start with the interior, where the Wykons return first-team all-West Pac Conference posts Eden Golliher (13.8 points per game) and Emily Nelson (11.2). Throw in West Pac second-team point guard Anna Malmquist (7.7) and West Iron has a junior trio to match that of anybody in the region.