WIC girls spill Norway to claim district crown
West Iron’s girls basketball team and their coaches posed proudly with the District 95 championship trophy minutes after the Wykons completed a 49-47 upset of Norway for the title.
IRON RIVER—On Jan. 23, after a 21-point defeat to Norway, the West Iron County girls basketball team was 1-9 and heading nowhere fast. The Wykons were mired in a nine-game losing streak, were disjointed on offense and were hemorrhaging points on defense.
But that was six weeks ago. West Iron followed that loss to the Knights with three straight wins, played formidable opponents like Forest Park and Calumet to the wire late in the season and started to come together offensively and defensively and as a group.
In the district final against the once-beaten and Class ABC fourth-ranked Knights on March 3, the Wykons grew up right before the eyes of a gymnasium full of fans. Coach Mike Dallavalle’s team put together its finest and most complete performance of the season, fought off numerous challenges from Norway down the stretch and left Charles Greenlund Gymnasium with a 49-47 Class C district championship victory.
With the win, the Wykons (8-14) move on to face fifth-ranked St. Ignace (20-2) in a Class C regional semifinal March 7 at Marquette High School. The other side of the bracket pits Negaunee (17-5) and Calumet (15-5).
But on the night of their rousing victory over Norway, all that could wait for the Wykons, now winners of four straight games.
“This is big,” said senior Emmy Kinner, who has endured more than her share of disappointment on the basketball court since being promoted to the varsity team as a freshman. “I wanted this win more than anything.”
“Very happy for the kids,” Dallavalle said, tearing up. “They worked so hard, been through a lot this year, tough games where we’ve been blown out, close games. It’s a mix of age groups, and it’s been tough getting them to trust each other and to play together, but they’ve started to. You could see that as the season wore on.”