Too high a mountain: Iron Mountain Mountaineers pull away from Westwood in 2nd half during Class C regional semifinal
“We got the tempo in our favor early in the game and controlled that tempo and that’s the key when you play Westwood.” — Harvey “Bucky” Johnson, head coach, Iron Mountain boys basketball
MARQUETTE — Iron Mountain used a strong second half to pull away from Westwood and advance to the Class C regional title game, defeating the Patriots 49-33 at Marquette Senior High School on Monday night.
The Mountaineers (22-1) will face Calumet (18-5) for the regional championship back at MSHS at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Iron Mountain head coach Harvey “Bucky” Johnson credited his defense along with his players driving hard to the basket for the win.
“It was a good game as far as our defense goes,” he said. “We knew it would be a grinder. Westwood is pretty patient. We got the tempo in our favor early in the game and controlled that tempo and that’s the key when you play Westwood.
“Defensively I thought we did a great job. We did a good job attacking the rim, got them into foul trouble a little bit, I thought Foster (Wonders) got us off to a good start offensively and it was just a grind-it-out type of game. We’re happy to get the win and move on.”
Westwood head coach Chad Hewitt said he’s proud of his team and the way they battled against a young and strong Iron Mountain squad.
“I’m so proud of the kids and the way that they battled and fought. The way we progressed as a team from Game 1 to Game 22. It’s a testament to them and the decisions they make, being a good person on and off the court.
“That’s what we strive for is getting better as the postseason approaches and playing your best basketball.
“Did we play our best basketball (tonight)? Probably not, but did Iron Mountain have a lot to do with that? I believe they did. They’re a really good team. They’re long, they’re athletic, their basketball IQ is high, they’re coached well and they’re going to be good for a long time with a freshman, a sophomore and two juniors on that squad.
“So it’s back to the building blocks and moving forward.”
Westwood bows out with a record of 12-10.
Mountaineers freshman guard Foster Wonders started the game with consecutive 3s, giving Iron Mountain an early 6-2 lead. The Patriots’ first two points came on a pair of free throws by junior guard Nathan Beckman.
Westwood kept things close in the first, down only four, 12-8, at the end of the first quarter.
The Pats pulled within one at 14-13 on a free throw, before Mountaineers sophomore guard Marcus Johnson came down the court and hit a triple. IM scored seven more points before the break, creating some separation at the half on a 2-point bucket at the buzzer from junior guard Charlie Gerhard to put his team up 24-15.
Iron Mountain scored the first five points of the third quarter as well on a basket from Wonders and a trey from junior guard Jaden Vicenzi to make it 29-15.
The score was 37-19 after three, and Iron Mountain controlled the pace throughout the fourth.
Wonders led IM with 21 points while Johnson had 19.
Sophomore guard Taylor Dellangelo had nine points for Westwood, while Beckman and senior guard Cameron Mason had seven each.
Email Ryan Spitza at firstname.lastname@example.org.