WIC boys hope to take next step

West Iron boys coach Dan Schive leads his team in a dribbling drill during a recent practice. The Wykons start their 2017-18 season next Monday, Dec. 11, at Forest Park (the Trojans’ home opener). The Wykons’ first home game is against L’Anse on Dec. 14.

IRON RIVER—Last year, the West Iron County boys basketball team won its first four games and stood 8-3 in late January. Though the Wykons faded a bit down the stretch, they still finished with the program’s first winning record since the 2012-13 season.
    Now, with three key players returning, including two-year starters in center Steven Nelson and guard-wing Neil Tomasoski and skilled all-purpose guard in Caden Pellizzer, West Iron hopes to improve on its 11-9 mark from a year ago and keep the program moving forward after some dark years.
    Throw in some talented and competitive newcomers and the Wykons seem capable of putting together another winning season.
    “We went through a couple of years that were really difficult, but I think we’re on the other side of that, at least for a couple of years,” WIC coach Dan Schive said. “(This team) shouldn’t be afraid to play anybody. In the last few years, we’ve been younger and starting some sophomores and some juniors with not a lot of experience, but this is a team that’s played a lot of basketball, so they shouldn’t be intimidated or scared to play anybody.”
    A scouting report on this year’s team begins in the middle with the 6-foot-8-inch Nelson, who is back for the third year as a starter after playing a handful of games as a freshman. Nelson is one of the top defenders in the Upper Peninsula and can score, averaging 10.9 points per game last year after scoring 11.5 ppg. as a sophomore. Schive said he’s looking for continued defensive excellence from Nelson and improved and more consistent offensive production.
    “He blocked 160 shots last year, and he will allow us this year, because we’re a little bit more athletic, to be able to go out and pressure more because we have the human flyswatter behind us. (But) I expect Steven to have a much better offensive year. We’ve got to jack (his scoring average) up a half a dozen (points per game) or so.”

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