WIC girls end regular season with pair of wins

Wykon sophomore Emily Nelson demonstrates her inside presence over Escanaba defenders in West Iron’s win on Feb. 22.

IRON RIVER/L’ANSE—After her team spun and sputtered to an admittedly uninspired victory over L’Anse on Feb. 19, West Iron County sophomore guard Anna Malmquist may have offered the most prescient comment made about her team this year.
    “I don’t know a group of girls that’s more motivated than us, I can say that much,” Malmquist said. “We’re ready to fight.”
    That quality, maybe more than any other the 2017-18 Wykons possess, explains why West Iron put together a 16-4 regular-season mark and will likely be a handful for any team they run into in the tournament.
    That fighting spirit and refusal to give in has been on display time and time again this year and was so again in the final two games of the regular season, albeit in different ways.
    Against the Purple Hornets, a team West Iron beat by 31 points earlier in the year, the Wykons shrugged off a lethargic performance by scoring the final 11 points of the game to defeat host L’Anse 46-39.
    And then against an athletic Escanaba team that played much better than its 9-10 record would suggest, the Wykons fended off a strong comeback push by the Eskymos and 27 turnovers of their own to record a 58-55 win at Charles Greenlund Gymnasium on Feb. 22.
    “You know, Escanaba has five guards on the floor, and that’s a tough matchup for anybody,” WIC coach Eric Shamion said.
    “It gave us fits, and it allowed them to come back into the game. But again, our girls don’t give up. I don’t think they know how to give up.”
    That resilience didn’t seem like it would be needed during a first quarter that was among the best West Iron has played all year. As opposed to their distracted approach to the L’Anse game, the Wykons came out blazing against Escanaba, running out to a 21-6 lead after the first eight minutes.
    West Iron hit 8 of its first 14 shots, committed just four turnovers against the Escanaba press and held the Eskymos to 2 of 10 shooting.

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