Wykons girls fall short of regional finals berth
WIC defenders Katarina Serbentas (20), Anna Malmquist (11), Emily Nelson (25) and Eden Golliher look to stymie Westwood guards Tessa Leece (2) and Madelyn Koski during the regional matchup between the U.P.’s top two teams in Division 1-3.
ESCANABA—All along, the West Iron County girls basketball team and coach Eric Shamion made no secrets of what their ultimate goal was for this season. A berth in a MHSAA Division 3 regional championship game was what they sought right from the time practice started in November.
Standing in the way of the Wykons this year was top-ranked and once-beaten Westwood, a team that had handed second-ranked West Iron one of its two losses entering the semifinal game on March 11 at Escanaba High School. But that early-season game came against a shorthanded Wykons’ squad that immediately shook off that defeat to go on an 18-game winning streak.
So, the table was set. It was No. 1 vs. No. 2 with a trip to the regional final in Sault Ste. Marie on the line. And after 32 minutes of hard-fought and closely-contested basketball, the regional championship berth went to Westwood, which defeated the Wykons 50-46.
Two nights later, the Patriots rolled over Charlevoix 47-29 to advance to the state quarterfinal, where they will take on Lake City (21-2) in Gaylord on Tuesday.
But for Shamion and his players, the narrow loss was agonizing to accept, especially since the Wykons (19-3) led by seven at the 2:38 mark of the third quarter before Westwood’s full-court pressure completely turned the game on its head.
“For 2 ½ quarters, I thought we did what we wanted to do,” Shamion began. “Inside, we played with poise, defense was decent although we weren’t fighting over the screens like we should and gave up four 3s in the first half.