Proving they belong

Ishpeming boys upset high-flying Mountaineers, 65-47, on Friday


Journal Sports Writer

ISHPEMING — The Ishpeming High School boys basketball team made a statement on their home court Friday when the high-flying Iron Mountain Mountaineers came to town.

And the Hematites fulfilled their role with a 65-47 upset of the Upper Peninsula’s No. 3 Class ABC team and rival in the Mid-Peninsula Conference.

“We didn’t talk about Iron Mountain being one of the best teams in the M-PC, but it was in the back of our minds,” IHS coach Anthony Katona said. “We had a little chip on our shoulder and wanted to prove we could hang and compete with the best. It definitely showed tonight.”

The Hematites struck early and often, jumping out to a quick 10-1 lead.

IM had their opportunities early on, but continued to wound themselves on offense with turnovers, stepping out of bounds and air balls.

Making matters worse, Iron Mountain starting forward Jaden Vicenzi left the game midway through the opening quarter after a collision under the Ishpeming basket cut his eye. He did not return until the second half.

The Mountaineers’ first five points came off free throws, and they didn’t score a field goal until only two minutes remained in the opening quarter.

Ishpeming held Iron Mountain’s leading scorer, senior forward Carson Wonders, to just four points in the first frame.

Katona said putting junior forward Dondre Yohe on Wonders greatly helped the Ishpeming defense.

“We played tough team defense,” Katona said. “Yohe was great on Wonders all night. He was on him the whole time, and we didn’t give (Wonders) easy looks, and we won almost all the rebounding battles.”

The Hematites built their lead and quieted the Mountaineers with timely triples.

Jaden Tucker nailed two from beyond the arc in the opening quarter, while Dondre Yohe and Hart Holmgren also sank one each in the first half to give Ishpeming a 24-20 lead at halftime.

Mountaineers coach Harvey Johnson said the first half was full of mistakes by his team.

“We had some opportunities and didn’t capitalize,” Johnson said. “Their length bothered us. Things started to snowball and they kept sinking shots, and we didn’t have a good response.”

The Hematites opened the second half with a 10-2 run, extending their lead to 38-22.

Yohe scored seven points in two minutes to help bury the Mountaineers in the third, outscoring the visitors 21-5 in the frame to put the game out of reach.

“Our kids were fired up and ready to roll coming out of the locker room,” Katona said. “I told them at halftime we had to come out strong and put them away in the third quarter. We took it to them and hit open shots.”

Holmgren led Ishpeming with 24 points. Yohe racked up 18 points, while Tucker added 13.

Wonders led IM scorers with 16 points, while Marcus Johnson added 13.

The win brought Ishpeming to .500 at 6-6, while Iron Mountain dropped to 12-2.

Johnson said the loss was a wakeup call for his players.

“We didn’t react to the environment well,” Johnson said. “We haven’t been in this position at all this year, and we didn’t play well.

“It’s definitely a lesson that needs to be learned for us on our season.”

Ray Bressette can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is