Westwood Patriots girls basketball team hangs on in wild finish for OT win over Houghton, 58-57

ISHPEMING — Kurt Corcoran should’ve known beating Houghton for the first time as varsity girls basketball coach at Westwood High School wouldn’t be easy.

“Everyone thought the game was over three times before it finally was,” he said after his Patriots pulled out a 58-57 overtime decision over the visiting Gremlins on Wednesday afternoon.

Sophomore Madi Koski scored 24 points for the winners to help offset four players scoring in double figures for Houghton — Kendra Monette and Cassie Ryynanen had 14 points each and Kara Pietila and Harlee Froberg added 12 points apiece.

The Patriots (5-2) also got 12 points from another sophomore, Tessa Leece, and 10 points from senior Marissa Carello as sophomore Karlie Patron added nine points and senior teammate Aidan Reath pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds.

Houghton (3-3) jumped out to a 6-0 lead on a pair of quick 3-pointers, according to Corcoran, but his team stormed back to go up 13-6.

“They put us on our heels a little bit at the beginning, but then we put some pressure on them,” he said.

Westwood kept a lead of a couple of possessions for most of the rest of the first half before retaking the lead late in the third quarter.

“Houghton made a few adjustments to our defense, and we fell behind by six points before Madi Koski hit a heads-up shot right as the third quarter ended,” Corcoran said. “Instead of pulling up around half-court, she saw that she had enough time to get to the 3-point line and beat the buzzer.”

That made it 42-40 Houghton entering the fourth quarter. And that’s where the pyrotechnics began.

Corcoran said the fourth quarter went back and forth before confusion reigned near the end of regulation.

Westwood was inbounding the ball with 16 seconds left, but the ball was tipped and a referee’s whistle was inadvertently blown.

After conferring, the refs said by that by rule, a loose ball, which that was considered after the tip, becomes a tie-up and the possession arrow pointed to Houghton.

“So we went from inbounding it to giving up the ball,” Corcoran said.

Leece also had a chance to give Westwood the win, but missed a pair of free throws with 2 seconds left.

Then with time running down in OT and the Patriots trailing by a point, Koski drove the length of the court and hit a layup and everyone on the Westwood bench thought they had won.

But the Gremlins had called timeout with 1.6 seconds left, giving them one last gasp on a full-court pass.

They scored the winning shot, but it was ruled to have come after the final buzzer went off.

Westwood, which also won the JV game 34-32, gets back in action at Gladstone on Tuesday, while Houghton is off until Friday, Jan. 5, for a game at Lake Linden-Hubbell.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.