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Wykons show progress in loss to Houghton

The Wykons’ Brandon Olson battles in the lane for a rebound against Forest Park’s Lee Graff and Austin Carlson (44), with Jeremy Johnson nearby.
IRON RIVER—In the season’s fourth game, the West Iron County boys basketball team scored only 24 points and lost to visiting Houghton by 40.
    About a month later, the Wykons traveled to the Keweenaw Peninsula and fell by 28 to the Gremlins, 63-35, in a West Pac Conference contest. In a season that to this point has been a major struggle, that level of improvement is progress.
    “As a total package, we probably played as good as we’ve played all year,” West Iron coach Dan Schive said. “I know it sounds stupid because we lost by 25, but I think we are moving in the right direction. Now are we going to run out of time before we get to that point? I don’t know.”
    Facing a talented and explosive Houghton team, the Wykons stayed within range throughout the first half. Brandon Olson scored five points and Mike Ivey added four as West Iron (0-10, 0-4) trailed 16-10 late in the first quarter.
    The Gremlins (6-2, 5-0) stretched their lead to double figures in the second quarter. But A.J. Weisnicht split a pair of free throws and knocked down a jumper before Olson buried a 3-pointer and Ivey sank a layup to help West Iron stay in the game, down 30-18 midway through the second quarter.
    The Wykons could have cut more into the deficit, but they missed five shots under the hoop, four unguarded, Schive said.
    Also, a series of Wykon turnovers down the stretch of the first half helped Houghton take a 35-18 lead at the break.
    West Iron played without Nick Helgemo, who didn’t make the trip because of illness, and with sophomore starter Cole Westphal still hampered by pneumonia. Facing a pressing team like Houghton eventually fatigued the shorthanded Wykons.
    “We just started to run out of gas,” Schive said.
    Houghton hit three 3-pointers midway through the third quarter to

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